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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
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Let's Buddy! - Non-Fiction > The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore -> Restarting February 10th, 2019

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message 1: by Alaina, Head of Monthly Challenges & Keeper of BR Threads (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alaina (ameserole) | 63447 comments Mod
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, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...


message 2: by Andy, Head of Read-a-thons (new)

Andy | 9963 comments Mod
I'm totally joining this!


message 3: by Alaina, Head of Monthly Challenges & Keeper of BR Threads (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alaina (ameserole) | 63447 comments Mod
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RESTARTING FEBRUARY 10TH, 2019

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Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Just going to say, anyone who's reading this is in for an emotional ride. I've needed to take a lot of breaks while reading this, sometimes for weeks on end. Starting back up again.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Mind if I join this buddy read? This book has been on my TBR for a while o.O


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "Mind if I join this buddy read? This book has been on my TBR for a while o.O"

Come on in. =)


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Brilliant! :D

5% (view spoiler)


message 8: by Celia (last edited Feb 11, 2019 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "Brilliant! :D

5% So why is it that no one thought that ingesting trace amounts of radioactive material would be harmless? If no more than a few grams in a text tube within a pocket could cause bu..."


When the story started, Marie Curie was not yet dead. Nobody knew the effects the radium would have on the workers or anyone. Then, of course, is the question of money.


message 9: by Celia (last edited Feb 22, 2019 11:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments 59% I just reread the last two chapters of the second section to remind myself why I've waited for so long to read the rest. As a woman and as a feminist, this book breaks my heart in the way women were treated and in the ways it was always the men first. As a cancer survivor, it appalls me how the girls could be treated as individual cases. Yet for some reason I still need to keep reading, even though the narrative will be tough to finish.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Celia wrote: "Natalie wrote: "Brilliant! :D

5% So why is it that no one thought that ingesting trace amounts of radioactive material would be harmless? If no more than a few grams in a text tube within a pocke..."


May not have been dead, but I think there were a few health things that had been noticed (the prologue was in 1901, and then the majority of this seems to start in 1917). But for me, I just don't understand why they would project something to the masses as a miracle-cure-all when it clearly wasn't. The fact that they knew it could be used in treating cancer because of the fact that it attacked human cells, and yet it was somehow completely harmless? Don't get it.

And yeah... "money" always seems to be a big thing... :|


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments ...How have you managed to get so far through already? Wow XD


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments 15% (view spoiler)


message 13: by Celia (last edited Feb 13, 2019 03:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "...How have you managed to get so far through already? Wow XD"

I started a while ago


Saige (lannister807) | 1366 comments Just started! I'm excited, all the people I know who have read it say it's great


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments I'm only 25% (ish) through at the moment, and it's incredible so far! I'm reading pretty slowly due to being so busy but I'll get there! XD


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "I'm only 25% (ish) through at the moment, and it's incredible so far! I'm reading pretty slowly due to being so busy but I'll get there! XD"

You're reading it faster than I've been. I had to take a lot of breaks because of how heavy the content was.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments I'm not having an issue with the heaviness of the content surprisingly o.O The only thing that really gets to me is constantly having to reference who's who because there are just SO MANY NAMES.

It helps that I knew what to expect I think, because I read this last year, and it covered what happened to the Radium Girls (though not in nearly as much detail, as it wasn't a main focus)
The Poisoner's Handbook Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments 30% (view spoiler)


message 19: by Celia (last edited Feb 14, 2019 07:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "I'm not having an issue with the heaviness of the content surprisingly o.O The only thing that really gets to me is constantly having to reference who's who because there are just SO MANY NAMES.

..."


That's true too, and I feel like half of them are named Katherine or Catherine, and they all have similar names too...that is tricky for me.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments YEP. And they go from Catherine to Katherine (or Grace or Maggie...) within the span of less than a page and it's like you have to suddenly switch gears because no, we're talking about someone else now XD


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "YEP. And they go from Catherine to Katherine (or Grace or Maggie...) within the span of less than a page and it's like you have to suddenly switch gears because no, we're talking about someone else..."

Honestly, yeah. It gets a little more concise as the book goes on, starts to focus on a specific group...it's not fully easier, though.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Glad it starts to be more focussed c: I really love it so far, it's just hard to keep track of @_@


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments 53% (view spoiler)


Saige (lannister807) | 1366 comments 22%- I totally get what you guys were saying about the names. I've found that it's easier for me not to focus too much on the individual stories. I'm paying attention mostly to the overarching narrative because there are too many people to keep track of. But, I LOVE the author's style. All the foreshadowing coupled with bright descriptions of the girls makes for a really dramatic read. It's a lot less dry than some other non-fiction I've read.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments 74% (view spoiler)


Saige (lannister807) | 1366 comments Natalie wrote: "74% Wait... so if Catherine dies whilst the company is appealing the decision of the courts (that they are GUILTY AF FUCK and need to pay compensation to help with medical bills etc for Catherine) ..."

That is a MOOD if I've ever heard one. Every time USRC's lawyers do literally anything I want to start a fight. I can't help but wonder how this all would have played out if the workers were predominantly male. I bet they would have found a lawyer way sooner, and the company might even have had better protections in place. Still, all the girls are so strong for continuing to seek justice even when their bodies are falling apart. It's really inspiring to read.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments YEP. I just want to get something and smack all the USRC's lawyers and higher ups and just try and force reason down their throats because apparently they have no concept of morality or conscience ._.

Such a good point though, that it likely wouldn't have been so difficult if the radium workers being killed off (left, right, and centre) were male :|

These women though are absolute inspirations. I'm so unbelievably impressed that they were able to do so much whilst going through so much pain and suffering.


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "YEP. I just want to get something and smack all the USRC's lawyers and higher ups and just try and force reason down their throats because apparently they have no concept of morality or conscience ..."

THIS!!! Okay I'm so mad!!!

66.81% (view spoiler)


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Finished! (view spoiler)


Saige (lannister807) | 1366 comments 63%-I'm going to fight to finish this one tonight because WOW is it so good. I was nearly in tears when Grace died, and now I'm cheering for the Illinois girls. I'm with you Celia, it's awful to think about all this happening in my state. It makes me wonder what kind of work is going on today that will turn out to be deadly. If there's one thing this book has taught me, it's not to trust big corporations. Science has advanced, but amoral companies are still out there treating workers like trash. I can only hope the book will have a semi-happy ending.


Saige (lannister807) | 1366 comments 100%- ok, whoa. The last line of the postscript, "How quickly we forget" gave me literal chills. This book was a long read, but dang it was worth it.


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments Oh my gosh yes. So many chills with that line ._.


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Saige wrote: "100%- ok, whoa. The last line of the postscript, "How quickly we forget" gave me literal chills. This book was a long read, but dang it was worth it."

Okay, I really need to finish!


Natalie (esaria) | 471 comments You really dooooo


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Natalie wrote: "You really dooooo"

School gets in the way of my reading! I need more time in life and in general!


Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments 72% - Okay, so it took TWENTY ONE YEARS from the beginning of the story with Katherine Schaub at the United States Radium Company in New Jersey in 1917 until the first (seemingly, I haven't finished this part yet) successful trial by Catherine Donohue towards the Radium Dial corporation in 1938! In that time, all the New Jersey girls died. Donohue finds out her condition is fatal AT THE TRIAL! I'm honestly very upset!


message 37: by Celia (last edited Feb 22, 2019 11:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Celia Buell (celiareadsbooks) | 3042 comments Saige - do you realize how close this is to us? I imagined Ottawa being some corn town south of Urbana-Champaign . . . It's two hours outside of Chicago! We could literally make a day trip out of it, and I never realized this!

Anyway, I finally finished. The last section had me speeding through to find out what happened with Catherine and her trial. Amazing!


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