The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Check out if you enjoy tragic tales or underdogs fighting for justice.

The Radium Girls was published in 2017, and it was a New York Times bestseller. My sister told me that I HAD to read it.

The story took place here in the US during the first half of the 1900’s when (despite some evidence to the contrary) big businesses were lauding radium as the wonder drug. Because of its glow-in-the-dark properties, one of its uses was in dials and watches. This required workers who were adept at painting very small surfaces with radium-laced paint. These workers are now known as The Radium Girls.

Many were 15 or 16 years old when they started working as luminous dial painters, and some died when they were in their early 20’s. Doctors were stumped at new symptoms that matched no known diseases, some of which included jawbones decaying from the inside out. Unfortunately, even when some persistent researchers recognized the cause, the companies maintained that all was well; even going as far as to higher their own “doctors” to examine the girls and pronounce that they were in good health. However, despite the corporate dirty play, multiple rejections from lawyers, and looking at certain painful deaths, the women fought on. Their story deserves to be read and their legacy remembered.

Recommended to anyone who enjoyed my first pick, Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higgenbotham or anyone who wants to read recent American history or who wants another reason to never fully trust big businesses.

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