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Radium Girls: Women and Industrial Health Reform, 1910-1935
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Radium Girls: Women and Industrial Health Reform, 1910-1935

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In the early twentieth century, a group of women workers hired to apply luminous paint to watch faces and instrument dials found themselves among the first victims of radium poisoning. Claudia Clark's book tells the compelling story of these women, who at first had no idea that the tedious task of dialpainting was any different from the other factory jobs available to ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 31st 1997 by University of North Carolina Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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NcSark
I truly enjoyed this historical work - the research is incredible. This book not only tells the story of the first documented workers of radium poisoning and their struggle to be diagnosed, recognized and compensated, but of the political, industrial and social landscape of that time that so often (though not always) prevented the workers from being treated properly in the first place.

At first I was disappointed there wasn't more on the actual workers' lives but little is known about many of th
...more
Derek
Dec 20, 2010 Derek rated it liked it
I picked up Radium Girls in perhaps a strange way: I'm working on a short story that uses their plight as a backdrop. The book was useful for the variety of historical information that it provided, and Clark's approachable tone turned what might otherwise be a fairly dry topic (in particular, the long stretches dedicated to the legality surrounding industrial health reform), into an enticing, morally complex, and important narrative.

It's a story, of course, with which people ought to be more fam
...more
Frank Stein
Feb 21, 2012 Frank Stein rated it it was ok
Overall a pretty disappointing read. Dealing as it does with the famous "Radium Girls," the New Jersey workers who got sick from painting glowing radium watch dials in the 1920s, and whose study led to the first confirmed cases of radiation sicknesses, this story potentially brims with human and social interest. Throw in Alice Hamilton, the industrial health wunderkind who was the first woman ever appointed to the Harvard faculty and who worked to prove that the U.S. Radium Corporation was at ...more
Fishface
Feb 04, 2016 Fishface rated it it was ok
This book started out to be the author's disseration, and it sure reads like one. She almost lost me right away by starting out with a lot of tedious stuff about the various committees, government agencies and special-interest groups involved in deciding where the radium dial painters' cases against their employers would lead in the future -- none of it handled lightly or grippingly, I'm afraid. A deeper search into the text brought me some of what I was looking for -- what the factory workers ...more
Megan Palasik
Jul 31, 2011 Megan Palasik rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I read this as part of an armchair chemistry class. I loved it and found it interesting all the things the girls did with the radium before we knew the side effects as well as what happened to them afterwards. I'm writing this review almost 4 years after the fact, so I don't have many details to review.
Michelle
Apr 03, 2010 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Though dry in parts, this is a great book! Lots of information. Part I liked:
"Workers reported that their calluses would glow in the dark from deposited radium and that, for fun, they would paint their nails with the luminous paint. 'We slapped radium around like cake frosting,' remembered one employee." (pg. 197)

Laura
Dec 19, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
I was fascinated by this book and the story of these women... and of the social and industrial health reform movements spawned by their plight. Well-written and well-documented.
Sarah
Sep 15, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about American industrial radiation protection health reform. Extensive history of the radium dial painters and their deaths.
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