THE RADIUM GIRLS

The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

Kate Moore

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.

more …

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. 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.

less …
  • Sourcebooks
  • Hardcover
  • May 2017
  • 496 Pages
  • 9781492649359

Buy the Book

$26.99

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Kate Moore

Kate Moore is a Sunday Times bestselling author, editor, and ghostwriter. In 2015, she directed a critically acclaimed play about the Radium Girls called These Shining Lives. She lives in the UK.

Author Website

Praise

“Moore’s chronicle of these inspirational women’s lives is sure to provoke discussion—and outrage—in book groups.”Booklist, Starred Review

“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

“Moore sheds new light on a dark chapter in American labor history.”Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

“The importance of the brave and blighted dial-painters cannot be overstated.”Sunday Times

Discussion Questions

1. The Radium Girlsis filled with triumph and tragedy. Which part of the story affected you the most, and why?

2. Is there a person in The Radium Girlsthat resonates more strongly with you than others?  If so, what part of their story or character stands out?

3. Even after radium was proved poisonous and the girls’ illness verified as work-related, the radium companies stood fast by their convictions.  Why do you believe they were so resilient? Can you imagine modern companies behaving with similar ruthlessness?

4. How do you believe the radium companies —and the press — would have reacted differently to the scandal had the workers been male? Considering the time period, how did the women’s gender help and hinder their case?

5. How do you think today’s world would be different had The Radium Girlsnot fought back against the radium companies?

6. It takes more than 1,500 years for the effects of radium to wear off.   This means that the bodies of the women and parts of the towns in which they worked remain poisonous to this day.  Despite the harrowing implications, why do you feel this story hasn’t been widely explored?

7. The Radium Girls is told mostly through the eyes of the radium-dial workers, their families, and friends; however, previous research never focused on their personal journeys.  How did it change your appreciation of or engagement with the story to know the smaller, personal details of the girls’ lives?

8. Is there another historical event where you’ve noticed women being pushed to the sidelines?

9. Although radium can be seen as an evil entity in the book, it’s also been used for the greater good.  Explore how radium has changed the world in a positive way.  Do you feel it was worth the sacrifice?

10. Besides radium, what other world-altering discoveries can you think of that led to both advancement and tragedy?

11. How were you inspired by the strength of the “shining girls,” and how can you carry that onward to incite change in your own life?