Radium Girls, The

Moore, Kate

  20 Reviews

When Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium in 1898, it was promoted as a miraculous cure-all. For the young American women who worked with it as 'dial-painters' during WWI, it afforded them a glamorous and much-envied job, until it became apparent it was poisoning them. The battle they had on their hands was both for their own health and against the United States Radium Corporation, deniers of radium's risks and their responsibility to their employees.

Harrowing yet inspiring, this extensively-researched expose of courage and sacrifice versus corporate greed and dishonesty, delivers an engrossing story of a ground-breaking victory for workers' rights.



TAUR 059
We were all horrified by the details of what the girls went through and then appalled and angry at the attitude of the companies, their doctors & solicitors. This is not a light read but an important detailing of what happened and the wins the girls achieved, not for themselves but for health & safety in the workplace for future generations. Medical side was gross but fascinating, but most of us felt that it was too long and complicated, although we acknowledged all the characters deserved their story telling so leaving certain factories and litigation out would have been disrespectful.
POKE 001
We all loved the book. Incredibly sad. A few tears. Well-written, easy to read, enjoyed the old articles.
AUCK 248
Fascinating reading but quite harrowing. Takes time to read. Give yourself time to read.
NGON 002
We were horrified by the attitudes towards these young women and the steps taken by the companies to discredit them. Although some areas have improved we were dismayed to think that this kind of workplace harm and the "cover-ups" taken by stake-holders continues, in 3rd world countries, if not in N.Z. Some enjoyed the style of writing, feeling it 'personalised" the story - others felt it interfered with the narrative.
NAP 034
All members recognised the importance of telling this story, however most found it difficult to read and follow due to the amount of characters. The book did not grab most members and felt "all over the place". The story impacts on many layers and needs to be told.
WELL 189
A truly horrific story, based on fact. Enlightening, and we all had great respect and empathy for all those poor women and their families. While they didn't get much money, the way they changed rights for workers was truly remarkable. A bit long winded though.
CHCH 503
Poignant, harrowing, tragic. It opened our eyes to something we knew nothing about. We were in awe of these brave women. However, although it was very well-written and captured their struggles beautifully, it felt too repetitive.
Although this was quite a slow read, it is exactly why we love our Book Group - we read books we would never usually choose. Amazing story.
CHCH 357
This book resulted in a very lively discussion from our group. It is definitely a story that begged to be written and the topic resonates to this day. A tale of greed and abuse of power resulting in suffering, affecting the people of Ottawa for many years and possibly ongoing today. However, the narrative style was not consistent with a constant flip from fact to fiction that put a few of our group off.
CHCH 489
Interesting historical topic, however our group found the writing style of this book very difficult. Over-inclusive of detail and a bit all over the place, we felt it read as though it had not been through an editing process.
CHCH 194
Well written and informative. We admired the courage of the women, but were appalled by what they had to go through - to seek medical help - and then to seek compensation. A well researched account - but an easy style of writing portrayed the human elements well.
We all found it very interesting,though a tough read, generating a good discussion on the treatment of women generally and the indifference of corporations/big money to the reality of life for the ordinary person. Some of us found the way the author moved between the two groups of women confusing, and thought editing would have been helpful. Not an easy read but recommended.
AUCK 162
Best summed up by the Governor of Illinois...."The radium girls battled a dishonest company, an indifferent industry, dismissive courts and the medical community". Only one of our group had heard of the dial painters previously. An important story with wide ranging consequences for workers' rights and safety. A distressing read.
TAUR 018
We found it confronting and informative. It brought the women to life incredibly well; showed the amazing courage of the women and the scurrilous way the owners behaved. It brought out the loyalty of the women and how they banded together to support each other through the worst situations.
CHCH 292
Memorable, compelling and harrowing read. Historical, but the characters were 'real' and relatable. The unethical management of the situation, even given the historical context, is very disturbing. Would recommend.
WELL 215
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. Despite the somewhat gruesome (at times) story, it was a compelling and fascinating read. Highly recommend this book!
CULV 001
We thought it was very well-written, and that she did a great job of portraying the personalities and the extent of suffering these women endured. It is a story that needed telling and is a must read. This has been our best book this year by far.
Most were glad to have read and become aware of the story, but a horrible story.
THAM 005
Harrowing is a good description of the story. None of us knew anything about this prior to reading the book and we all agreed it is a story worth reading but we were divided on the manner in which it was told. Most agreed it could have been better edited as it did become quite repetitive, especially in the middle of the book. Interminable was a word used by more than one member but others thoroughly enjoyed it. The subject generated much discussion, especially with regard to modern day parallels and the realisation we know so little about the possible future impact of products we use today.