The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
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.
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 this i ...more
“I can’t laugh about those poor women who painted the clocks,” said Sarah. “That’s one thing I can’t laugh about.”...more
“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
[Katherine Schaub] was an...more
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
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
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
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 pits of fire, it would be when reading The Radium Girls. It's because you can sell an ...more
This is not any easy book to read/listen to. The real life horrors described are terrifying and the total apathy on the part of the companies involved is infuriating. For some, the repetition might get exhausting, but I think the repetition is important. By talking about how the exact same issues went on over and over and over again and how the companies ...more
Factory women painting radium containing paint on whatches, so that they would glow in the dark
What do you think about, when you hear radiation poisoning?
Probably the death of Marie Curie, the atom bombs and Chernobyl. But the story of the "Radium girls", as they were called by the media, was just as bad and happened even earlier.
Meant are the female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous and radium containin ...more
In the 1920s, dozens of healthy, young, working-class women (some as young as 14) were employed in a newly-born business: painting with radium, the marvelous material the Curies had isolated 20 years prior. At the time, this fluorescent wonder was believed so beneficial for the body, that medications, aesthetic treatments and even toiletry items had started to employ it. In 1923, given you had enough money to afford it, you could spend a day at the spa, bathing in radium-infused ...more
I've had to sleep on this, before writing any words about it, mostly be ...more
At around 1h into the audiobook all I could think was... this woman just got a piece of her jaw literally fall, this can get any worse... and it did.
I don't recommend the audiobook. The narrator did a great job but they didn't edit her swallowing half the time and it got annoying sadly!
*As I often do with non fiction... I don't feel comfortable giving a rating to this book.
Ok. So I've put off writing this review for a while, simply because every time I go to write it, I get angry, and just end up ranting about the horror and injustice of it all. So I'm going to write this damn thing and try not to simply rage the whole time. Therefore, I make absolutely no promises about the quality of this review, but here goes.
This was not an easy read. It made me stark raving mad. I'm talking want to throw things at people, pun ...more
“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
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
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
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.
Clock with radium dial
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.
Radium was touted as a boon to health
After the war - in the 1920s - large factories sprang up to feed the growing demand f ...more
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
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
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Articles featuring this book
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.”