The forgotten story of the radium girls
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of Americas Shining Women by Kate MooreCongratulations-winner of Best Historical & Biography 2017!
Im going to try and not cry while writing this review. I actually read this one back at the beginning of October, but I was too emotional to write a review straight away and have avoided it since. Sometimes I have trouble with emotions; for many years I avoided some of the richest books with the highest quality stories because I simply was terrified of having to process the heavy feelings behind them. Ive slowly begun working on this issue, and while I cant read a slew of emotional books in a row, I have begun to place them strategically in my line up. I think the hardest part about this one is its real; these women existed in our world and suffered the things discussed in this book which tears my heart into little pieces. Ive watched firsthand how cancer can ravage the body of someone you love, but that was just a small piece of the hell these brave warriors had to endure. Ugh, grab a hanky and lets get going.
This was not a book I could race through; I read another review stating how she had to pick up the book and place it down in what felt like 2 minute increments-this is exactly how it felt slowly trudging through this story. My initial interest in the history behind the radium girls spawned after reading another book that had a small chapter of information in it titled Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid (highly recommend this book even to those crime fiction fans who do not typically read non-fiction as this read like fiction!). After the brief intro into their story, I knew I had to find out more. I was blown away at their courage and strength which is portrayed in this book as well. The hardest part about reading this one was the depth it went into to ensure we understand just how much these women suffered and how honorable their fight was to fight those who placed them in this position and find justice.
One of the most important takeaways I found though was how proud and honored this story made me feel to be a woman. These females were a class act; they were determined during a time when women were considered second class citizens. We could certainly use some role models such as these in todays world; the example of the strength in numbers and how to hold each other up when you are falling apart, physically and emotionally, was not lost on me. I found myself going to great lengths wondering what happened to our society between now and then; have the subtle advancements for women caused us to compete with each other in seclusion rather than band together while building one another up? I feel like I could ramble on for days regarding this book, but if you can stomach the horror and emotion regarding this much overlooked part of our history, I think it will ensure deep reflection and cause us to question some of how we approach living our lives and what we hold important. I know Ill hold this story deep in my soul for the rest of my life, it was that powerful.
*Id like to thank the author and publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls, Whose Deaths Saved Thousands Of Workers' Lives
During the First World War, hundreds of young ladies labored by painting watch dials using luminous radium paint in clock factories. Literally "glowing in the dark" after their shifts, the girls started to fight a legal battle against the injustice of their employer denying their claim when they began to experience horrible side effects due to radium exposure. Little did she know that this job would change her life and the US labor laws forever. The new element radium, which had been founded by Marie Curie, was utilized to paint watches and military dials by the working class women who flocked the studio after war had been declared. Dial painting paid more than three times the usual factory job and it was considered as "the elite job for the poor working girls".
Please refresh the page and retry. D ial-painting was the hot new profession for working-class women in the US: a lucrative, artistic and glamorous job that gave the mostly young employees a chance to work with the recently discovered wonder element, radium, as well as "do their bit" for the war effort. They used luminous radium paint to make the numbers on watches, clocks and aeronautical dials glow brightly in the dark. And they were instructed to suck their paintbrushes, to make a fine point for the precise handiwork. Speaking to a lawyer years later, dial-painter Mae Cubberley remembered: "The first thing we asked was, 'Does this stuff hurt you?
During World War I, many young ladies used to work in clock factories, painting watch dials with lambent metallic element paint. She had two Soldier brothers, and she wanted to help in the war effort any way she could. Little did she knew, that she would change the worker rights forever. Most of the workers were teenagers as they had small hands perfect for this kind of artistic work. To make matters worse Radium was being marketed as A Medical Elixir for all ailments. That was not entirely true though, as Marie Curie herself could attest to the dangers of this glow in the dark material.
In , lot of patriotic young girls counted themselves lucky to have landed war work at a large warehouse complex in Orange, New Jersey., During World War I, hundreds of young women went to work in clock factories, painting watch dials with luminous radium paint. But after the girls who literally glowed in the dark after their shifts began to experience gruesome side effects, they began a race-against-time fight for justice that would forever change US labor laws.