Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women” as Want to Read:
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

by
4.23  ·  Rating details ·  24,682 Ratings  ·  4,644 Reviews

The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger

The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundre

...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Sourcebooks (first published April 18th 2017)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Radium Girls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
tree Oddly enough, it's possible to care about more than one thing at a time. And considering that every one of those women died of radium poisoning --…moreOddly enough, it's possible to care about more than one thing at a time. And considering that every one of those women died of radium poisoning -- many before their court battles could do them any good -- it's hardly a "poor me" book. If you want to educate children about "the power they can wield over their lives" then this is a great book to start with. It's the true story of hundreds of women (and some men) who stood up and refused to be cowed by corporations and public opinion for the benefit of all the women who would come after them. They changed the law. If that doesn't teach someone about taking control over their lives then they can't be taught.(less)
Yaaresse You've probably already decided, but in case someone else needs to know, the photos are in the back of the Kindle edition. There are 35 photos in the…moreYou've probably already decided, but in case someone else needs to know, the photos are in the back of the Kindle edition. There are 35 photos in the Kindle edition. Most are very small and somewhat grainy, so you'll have to tap each on and enlarge it to really see much. (One of the few annoying flaws of e-books.) About a dozen are of some of the women from the book and often have one picture of them very young (teens) and one as an adult. There are maybe four that show sarcoma or other conditions and appear to be from medical journals. Five are of the professionals (lawyers and doctors). The rest are either candid shots from company outings, from the court proceedings, or from newspaper articles. All are well described in the text.

So I guess the answer depends on how important the pictures are to you. They're probably bigger and clearer in the print edition, but if easy access to footnotes are more important to you, you might want to go with the Kindle edition. because there are a LOT of footnotes. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Chelsea Humphrey
Congratulations-winner of Best Historical & Biography 2017!

I'm going to try and not cry while writing this review. I actually read this one back at the beginning of October, but I was too emotional to write a review straight away and have avoided it since. Sometimes I have trouble with emotions; for many years I avoided some of the richest books with the highest quality stories because I simply was terrified of having to process the heavy feelings behind them. I've slowly begun working on th
...more
Lori
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
description
“I can’t laugh about those poor women who painted the clocks,” said Sarah. “That’s one thing I can’t laugh about.”

“Nobody wants you to.” said her grandmother. “You run along now.”

Sarah was referring to an industrial tragedy that was notorious at the time. Sarah’s family was in the middle of it, and sick about it. Sarah had already told me that she was sick about it, and so had her brother, my roommate, and so had their father and mother. The tragedy was a slow one that could not be stopped once
...more
Cheri
!! NOW AVAILABLE !!
4.5 Stars rounded up

I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them.

I aimed to chart their journey: from the joy of their first lucrative paycheck, through the first aching tooth, to the courage each girl had to find inside herself in order to fight back against the employer who had poisoned her.

I wanted to walk their routes to work and visit their homes and graves. I wished
...more
Carol
Whew! What a gut-wrenching read...and fight...for truth and justice!

We start with a short eerie prologue from 1901, and soon see the chilling....never to be forgotten phrase: Lip...Dip...Paint - - - Such frightening words!

THE RADIUM GIRLS is a truly shocking non-fiction read about women in the 1920's who were hired to paint watch dials with a luminous and deadly substance. Young, naive and conscientious, the shining girls kept lip-dipping and painting to achieve that precise point even when symp

...more
Debra
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 Stars

Imagine you have your first job. Imagine how proud you are. Or maybe it is not your first job, but it is a fun job where you get to socialize if you get your job done. A job that allows you to do something important for your country. Imagine you are helping your friends and sisters obtain a job as well. Imagine you work with a super cool substance which glows in the dark. A substance you believe is safe - your employer tells you is safe. A substance that one young woman painted on her o
...more
Pouting Always
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I saw a lot of positive reviews for this one so I really wanted to read it and I'm glad I did. During the beginning of the twentieth century radioactive elements were newly discovered and many were excited about the possible curative uses for them. One of the elements radium was used to paint watch dials as well as in many beauty and health products marketed to the masses. When World War I broke out the production of radium painted clocks rose and many more women became employed painting them. T ...more
Diane S ☔
What seemed like a fun, good paying job, especially for the times turns into an epic nightmare of pain and suffering for the girls who worked with radium, hand painting dials. My eldest granddaughter lived in Ottawa for a time and it is a town that is quaint, charming and has a great state park, Starved Rock, that we have gone to for years. I never knew about this factory nor anything about the history of these poor girls before this book. The author deserves kudos for bringing this huge miscarr ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE with a heart
Update!!! Interview with the author can now be found here: http://avalinahsbooks.space/interview...

They were called The Girls With Radioactive Bones.

There were newspaper headlines such as ' Living Dead' Win In Court' about them.

And all that – almost a hundred years ago.

I'm going to tell you a very painful, sad, but strong story of fighting for your rights, for justice, for your honor even. So let's start.

If there was ever a time that I wanted to believe the Christian hell with burning pi
...more
Lou
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this book very different from anything I've ever read previously. It evoked such emotion with the details it revealed throughout and was both highly readable and thrilling. These women deserve to be recognised for the huge sacrifices they made, all they asked was the same as most of us do now - a steady job with money coming in, yet, what they got turned into something else entirely. Kate Moore did exactly what she set out to do by writing a truly honest and heartbreaking tale of these i ...more
Erin
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
All the stars for this well researched nonfiction that is just infused with emotion. Kate Moore writes in such a manner that I quickly became immersed in the stories of the American women in the 1920's and 1930's that were exposed to radium poisoning. What these women and their families went through to have the truth heard in the courts and in the country! I felt so furious at the company that refused for so long to admit their wrongdoing. Imagine implying that all these women had died of "Cupid ...more
Brenda - Traveling Sister
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kate Moore’s well-researched true story tells us of the lives of the “shining girls” condersided the luckiest girls alive to have found the most coveted jobs using the “wonder” substance radium to paint dials. We learn of their feelings of joy, excitement, and independence at having such glamorous jobs, to them becoming ill and their bodies starting to deteriorate and then some to their deaths. To others realizing their jobs are causing their illness, to their fight against the companies and the ...more
Bam
Radium, discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, was thought to be 'the wonder element,' a magnificent cure-all that could destroy cancerous tumors and could perhaps be the elixir of youth.

When added to paint this 'liquid sunshine' could glow in the dark. In 1916, Radium Luminous Materials Corporation opened its doors in Newark, New Jersey and operated a watch dial studio that employed local girls, the daughters and granddaughters of immigrants, as painters.

One hundred years ago, before O
...more
Juli
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the early 1900s Radium was a sensation. The Curie's discovery was touted as a cure-all, a miracle, a wonder. At the time, little was understood about the side effects of handling Radium, however.

In an era when most jobs for women were low paying, young women lined up for positions painting clock faces with radium paint. The jobs were high paying and gave them status in their community. The clock faces glowed a radiant green in the dark, making them a popular purchase. These girls sat for hou
...more
Marialyce
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book made me cry. It made me cry for the girls who were so brave, so sick, and so dedicated to one another so that the truth would be known. It made me cry for the greed that men, doctors and lawyers showed for these girls to let them suffer so while knowing the dangers of the substance they were working with. It made me cry to think of parents deprived of their daughters, children deprived of their mothers, and husbands deprived of their wives. It made me cry to think of the evil and greed ...more
Dorie
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first non fiction book I’ve read in a long time and it is a good one. I had never read anything about the tragedy that consumed a large number of young women working with radium, painting dials on clocks and other instrument panels.

In the beginning radium was actually being hailed as a “health wonder” but it was soon discovered by many of the scientists working with radium that it could indeed be very dangerous. The young women took these jobs, offered by large factories, because the
...more
Liz
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's another nonfiction book that reads as quickly and easily as a mystery. After a quick prologue about the Curies, the book begins in earnest in 1917 at the watch dial painting factory. What first struck me was that these girls truly were girls, mostly in their teens. Schooling beyond the elementary grades wasn't something the working classes could afford. The book gives a great account not only of the limits of science, but also the limits and willingness of government agencies to pursue em ...more
Vicki
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of the radium girls I had seen the glowing green dials of clocks when I was a girl. We had a Westclox alarm clock in my room. The glow at night allows us to know when we could sleep longer. I never knew that was radium making it glow.

I also had no clue that girls, teenage girls had risked and lost their lives painting the numbers with a radium based paste to provide that glow.

This well researched book tells of the women that faced an agonizing death because of the companies d
...more
Julie
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore is a 2017 Sourcebooks publication.


“Luminous Processes, declared the local paper, seems to put profits before people.”
‘How quickly we forget.’

Only the most hard -hearted among us could read this book without shedding tears. So be warned this book is not for the faint of heart and while the bravery of these young ladies is certainly inspirational, the anger and frustration I felt about their untimely and excruciating death
...more
Jo (An Unexpected Bookish Geek)
It is amazing, what the emotional impact of such a simple thing like reading a book can do to the mind. I finished this book last night before I went to bed, and I was crying. I was crying for the women and their families, I was crying as I learned justice was finally served and mostly, I was crying because I feel so fortunate, that because of these brave, powerful women, that we know more about radium and it's dangers today.
I've had to sleep on this, before writing any words about it. Mostly be
...more
Barbara
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

As early as World War I 'glow in the dark' gauges and watch dials became vital to soldiers. These were manufactured by painting the faces of the devices with compounds containing the radioactive element radium. At the time, the dangers of fissionable elements was unknown, and - in fact - radium was touted as a boon to good looks and good health.

After the war - in the 1920s - large factories sprang up to feed the growing demand for the gauges, watches, and 'wellness products' containing
...more
Nadine Jones
I REALLY did not like this. I got so angry reading this because the writing bugged me SO much that I may be somewhat unkind in this review, and I feel bad about that, because I think this is a worthwhile book and Moore's heart was in the right place when she wrote it. But ... Moore's writing style really bugged me. Because, in a book about children and young people working in factories and being poisoned by radium, the last thing I care about is how pretty they were.

[Katherine Schaub] was an a
...more
Jill Croce-McGill
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, nonfiction
"I wanted to showcase their shining spirits in a book that would tell their story – not just the story of the famous professionals who had helped them."

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is a powerful and heart-breaking story about young girls who worked in radium-dial painting factories in the early 1900's where they painted luminous dials on watches and clocks. At that time everyone was told radium was healthy, some would say a miracle, and they were encouraged to drink it to cure many illnesses -
...more
Erin
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-2017
In the teens and 1920's one of the best jobs a young woman could get involved an exciting and new substance called Radium. Radium was a sparkling and glowing new wonder that was used in watches, clocks, weapons, and makeup. According to the companies that used it, Radium was completely harmless. They were lying and more importantly they knew it was deadly and worked for 40 years to cover it up.

The Radium Girls is a horrifying and disturbing read. This book illustrates why government oversight a
...more
Rebecca McNutt
This somber story chronicles the lives of the Radium Girls, female factory workers exposed to large quantities of radium by the men who assured them that it was harmless. Trying to get the factory to take full responsibility, this women's fight for justice was wracked with scandal, denial and cover-ups, but it's ultimately a story of hope and power reclaimed.
Hirdesh
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 Shining Stars.

Glorious one as the Victory of The Radium Girls ! !

Dip.......Lip........Paint.......

Great Thanks for Netgalley and respective publisher.

I had started late this book which led to Great book.
However, starting was slow. But, What a great rhythm had picked by story.
So many congratulations for Writer.
Writing was different and highly enthusiastic , lovely piece of description by Author.
Highly recommended to Genuine Readers.
Emotions were on Zenith as the Part 2 began throughout the b
...more
Sarah
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished finally. This is one of those books you will always remember. This book is about how The Radium Girls revealed the danger of radiation. They actually glowed in the dark. During World War I and years after, women and girls worked in radium dial factories painting dials on to clocks, watches and airplane instruments. The paint got everywhere, in their hair, on their clothes, on their hands. And so they glowed !!!

They were told that it was safe. The company viewed them as disposable and
...more
Dianne
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Un-be-frickin-lievable.......RTC.

Sheesh.
Stephanie Anze
"Dip... Lip... Paint"

Those are the instructions given to the girls that started working in the Radium Lumnious Materials Corporation. The girls, some as young as fourteen, were in charge of painting dial numbers on watch faces and other products. Radium was hailed as miracle product and its luminocity stood out, quite literally. In the 1920's, this was the it job. It was glamorous. It payed well. It was even fun. It was also deadly. The girls did not know that everytime they put the brush in the
...more
Louise Wilson
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a true story about the young women who were exposed to radium and their struggle for justice.

In the early 1900's, young women took jobs painting luminous dials on watches and clocks. They were paid handsomely for the opportunity to work with radium, a new methods that was all the rage. The girls needed a steady hand and at times, to make the brush they were using even finer, the girls had to put them in their mouths. Radium was everywhere though. It was on their clothes, in the air and e
...more
Marchpane
Apr 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A heartbreaking account of the Radium Girls, young women afflicted by radiation exposure during the early 20th century. The book takes us into their workplaces, where they laughed and gossiped while painting watch dials with luminous, radium-based paint. At the time, radium was already known to be dangerous, at least in scientific circles. Somewhat paradoxically it was also touted as miracle cure-all, sold in tonics and expensive spa treatments.

Of course the radium in the paint would eventually
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
84 followers
Kate began teaching in 1968 and writing novels in 1984. Both careers connect her with learners, immerse her in creative communities, and offer opportunities to grow. "Making works of fiction helps me understand how to coach young readers of fiction to make the most of their experience." She is an award-winning, published, independent writer of fiction with a passion of exploring the dark side of L ...more
More about Kate Moore

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Dog Years
    $13.74 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Sex Object
    $9.74 $2.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Arctic Dreams
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“The cynical would say there was only one reason a high-profile specialist finally took up the cause. On June 7, 1925, the first male employee of the United States Radium Corporation died.” 11 likes
“And Grace Fryer was never forgotten. She is still remembered now—you are still remembering her now. As a dial-painter, she glowed gloriously from the radium powder; but as a woman, she shines through history with an even brighter glory: stronger than the bones that broke inside her body; more powerful than the radium that killed her or the company that shamelessly lied through its teeth; living longer than she ever did on earth, because she now lives on in the hearts and memories of those who know her only from her story.

Grace Fryer: the girl who fought on when all hope seemed gone; the woman who stood up for what was right, even as her world fell apart. Grace Fryer, who inspired so many to stand up for themselves.”
6 likes
More quotes…