“The harrowing true story of The Radium Girls is a compelling and forthright portrayal of a dark, insidious mystery and the 'shining girls' who revealed it. Author Kate Moore takes the reader from Orange, New Jersey, to Ottawa, Illinois, following several women who work at factories that specialize in painting watch faces and instrument dials with the glow-in-the-dark wonder element radium. As these women fall ill in various and dire ways in the ensuing years, they seek answers and relief from the very companies that would deny them. In The Radium Girls, Moore, like the 'shining girls' before her, casts a bright light on these lives lost too young.”
— Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD
Summer 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“This story of the first all-women class action lawsuit is one that everyone needs to read. Moore does a fabulous job of showing these women for who they were: real people, with families and lives that were torn apart by devastating health problems caused by years of working in a watch factory, painting glowing radium onto watch dials. A heartbreaking, inspiring story of strong women who stuck together through the most horrible of circumstances.”
— Maggie Henriksen, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI
A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts Bestseller!
"The glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still." —NPR Books
Discover the gripping and inspiring true story of The Radium Girls, a groundbreaking work by acclaimed author Kate Moore. Immerse yourself in this compelling narrative that unravels the extraordinary lives of these fearless women who fought against all odds.
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.
With meticulous research and a keen eye for detail, Kate Moore delves into the lives of these remarkable individuals, capturing their resilience, strength, and unwavering determination. Through their stories, she exposes the shocking negligence and corporate cover-ups that plagued the radium industry, ultimately sparking a revolution in workplace safety.
The Radium Girls is a masterful blend of historical account and heartfelt tribute. Moore's vivid prose brings these forgotten heroines back to life, ensuring that their sacrifices and triumphs are forever etched in our collective memory. As you turn each page, you'll be captivated by their indelible legacy and inspired by their enduring spirit.
The Radium Girls is a must-read for history enthusiasts, feminists, and anyone seeking a remarkable story of resilience and empowerment.
About the Author
Kate Moore is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Radium Girls, which won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History, was voted U.S. librarians’ favorite nonfiction book of 2017,and was named a Notable Nonfiction Book of 2018 by the American Library Association. A British writer based in London, Kate writes across a variety of genres and has had multiple titles on the Sunday Times bestseller list. She is passionate about politics, storytelling, and resurrecting forgotten heroes.
"Radium Girls spares us nothing of their suffering; though at times the foreshadowing reads more like a true-crime story, Moore is intent on making the reader viscerally understand the pain in which these young women were living, and through which they had to fight in order to get their problems recognized…The story of real women at the mercy of businesses who see them only as a potential risk to the bottom line is haunting precisely because of how little has changed; the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still." — NPR Books
"A perfect blend of the historical, the scientific, and the personal, this richly detailed book sheds a whole new light on this unique element and the role it played in changing workers' rights. The Radium Girls makes it impossible for you to ignore these women's incredible stories, and proves why, now more than ever, we can't afford to ignore science, either." — Bustle
"This timely book celebrates the strength of a group of women, whose determination to fight improved both labor laws and scientific knowledge of radium poisoning. Written in a highly readable, narrative style, Moore’s chronicle of these inspirational women’s lives is sure to provoke discussion—and outrage—in book groups." — Booklist-STARRED review
"Moore’s well-researched narrative is written with clarity and a sympathetic voice that brings these figures and their struggles to life...a must-read for anyone interested in American and women’s history, as well as topics of law, health, and industrial safety." — STARRED Library Journal
"Carefully researched, the work will stun readers with its descriptions of the glittering artisans who, oblivious to health dangers, twirled camel-hair brushes to fine points using their mouths, a technique called lip-pointing…Moore details what was a ‘ground-breaking, law-changing, and life-saving accomplishment’ for worker’s rights." — Publishers Weekly
"Like Dava Sobel's The Glass Universe and Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures, Kate Moore's The Radium Girls tells the story of a cohort of women who made history by entering the workforce at the dawn of a new scientific era. But the young women--many of them just teenagers--who learned the skill of painting glow-in-the-dark numbers on clock faces and aeronautical gauges early in the twentieth century paid a stiff price for their part in this breakthrough involving the deadly element, radium. Moore sheds new light on a dark chapter in American labor history; the "Radium Girls," martyrs to an unholy alliance of commerce and science, live again in her telling" — Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
"Kate Moore vividly depicts the female factory workers whose courage led to a revolution in industrial safety standards. In describing their heart wrenching struggles and bittersweet triumphs, Moore delivers an intimate portrait of these pioneers. Uplifting and beautifully written, The Radium Girls is a tribute to the strength of women everywhere." — Nathalia Holt, New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us From Missiles to the Moon to Mars
"Kate Moore’s gripping narrative about the betrayal of the radium girls—gracefully told and exhaustively researched—makes this a nonfiction classic. I particularly admire Moore’s compassion for her subjects and her story-telling prowess, which brings alive a shameful era in America’s industrial history." — Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey and Flight of Passage
"…[A] fascinating social history – one that significantly reflects on the class and gender of those involved – [is] Catherine Cookson meets Mad Men...The importance of the brave and blighted dial-painters cannot be overstated." — Sunday Times
"Kate Moore . . . writes with a sense of drama that carries one through the serpentine twists and turns of this tragic but ultimately uplifting story. She sees the trees for the wood: always at the center of her narrative are the individual dial painters, so the list of their names at the start of the book becomes a register of familiar, endearing ghosts." — Spectator
"In this thrilling and carefully crafted book, Kate Moore tells the shocking story of how early 20th-century corporate and legal America set about silencing dozens of working-class women who had been systematically poisoned by radiation ... Moore [writes] so lyrically ... FIVE STARS" — Mail on Sunday
"A heartfelt … history." — Sunday Telegraph
"Moore’s harrowing but humane story describes the struggle of a few brave women who took their case to court in a fight for justice that is still resonant today" — Saga
"Radium Girls was a wonderful and sad read about amazingly brave women. Kate Moore tells their incredible true story of tragedy and bravery in the face of corporate greed. We all should know the stories of these women who suffered through radium poisoning and refused to be silenced. This isn't just an important part of history, but a page turner that will leave you heartbroken and emboldened. It is a must read." — Rachel Ignotofsky, author of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
"Radium Girls is a shocking, heartbreaking story of corporate greed and denial, and the strength of the human spirit in face of it. To read it is to honor these women who unwittingly sacrificed their lives but whose courage to stand up and be heard speaks to us from the grave. It is a tale for our times." — Peter Stark, author of Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
"Written with the taut pacing of a novel, Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls tells the horrifying true story of the young women who worked in radium dial factories in the 1920s and ’30s...Their incredible story, beautifully told by Kate Moore, is sure to incite equal parts compassion and horror in the reader. " — BookPage
"Compelling chronicle of women whose work maimed and killed them while their employers, their doctors and their government turned a blind eye to their suffering" — The Seattle Times
"Kate Moore has dug deep to expose a wrong that still resonates–as it should–in this country. Exceptional!" — San Francisco Book Review
"The Radium Girls" is the story of a group of people who fought for justice and basic human rights. But it is also a preface to the far-reaching effects of contamination that persist today, and perhaps others that have yet to be revealed." — Undark
"We sometimes need reminding of where health and safety came from, and why it is so very important for progress. The Radium Girls compels us to remember." — Chemistry World
"A toxic tale of American greed at the expenses of youthful innocence and hope, an exposé of collusion by the professional class (lawyers, doctors, and executives) to defraud and defame and debase a generation of women whose only crime was their desire to work for a decent wage....You will be angry; you will want to fight. But it is also a celebration of those lives lost that made a difference, lives that changed labor laws and opened doors to new and better safety regulations in the work place." — Illinois Heritage