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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women (2016)

av Kate Moore

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,2171954,258 (4.14)214
As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" were considered the luckiest alive--until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America's biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights. The Radium Girls explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.… (mer)
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» Se även 214 omnämnanden

engelska (197)  italienska (1)  spanska (1)  Alla språk (199)
Visa 1-5 av 199 (nästa | visa alla)
A depressing, uplifting and absolutely fascinating book. I would recommend it to anyone. ( )
  ib4 | Jul 22, 2024 |
This book was very good. Learned a lot about not only the women but radiation internally and effects upon the community and early examples of corporate injustice. It is amazing what these women went through and how they suffered. ( )
  MorrisonLibrary21512 | Jul 5, 2024 |
This is a gripping book and would be even more compelling if we could remember who all these people were. So many young women crowd the pages that I (for one) couldn't remember if it was Katherine from New Jersey and Catherine from Illinois, or vice versa, or who was whom in general.

Reading the author's note at the end of the book, I understand that she felt such fierce affection for each one of these courageous women that she didn't want to let go of a single story. Still, it's challenging for the reader.

Although the research appears to be thorough and reliable, when it comes to a detail that seems to defy common sense, it would be reassuring if that was acknowledged or explained: one has to wonder how the book was fact checked because a sarcoma on a woman's knee "shrinking" to 45 centimetres doesn't seem like it would be (as described) good news to anyone: 45 cm is more than 17 inches. "[S]he still couldn't do much in the way of walking" -- how could she with a 45 cm growth on her knee? And a few pages later it grows to 49 centimetres. Tumour size normally refers to diameter and this one was apparently the size of a beach ball? (Chapters 37, 39) ( )
  muumi | Jun 23, 2024 |
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore was one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read (listened to, actually). Detailing the lives and horrible deaths of radium-dial painters in New Jersey and Illinois, the story is one that captivated the world and the courts, and which opened the door for occupational safety standards in workplaces across the United States. The women who waged this battle suffered horrible lives and deaths but did so to help others in similar industries. I admired them greatly and wept copiously during the last chapters of the book.

Radium-dial painting is the act of detailing clocks and aeronautical dials of various sorts with luminous paint, which is made up of radium and water. The girls were encouraged to put the paintbrushes in their mouths to keep them narrow enough to do the meticulous work. That’s right: they were urged to put paintbrushes coated with radioactive ingredients into their mouths.
They died. And before they died their teeth fell out, their gums grew abcesses, their jawbones pierced the skin of their mouths and fell apart. They were troubled with huge sarcomas on every part of their body. Their hips disintegrated until the girls had legs of different length and could walk only with a cane. Their pain turned to agony. They couldn’t eat. They became skeletal versions of their younger, happier selves. It was awful to hear about; I can’t imagine suffering such anguish.

The management of the radium companies were the worst people I’ve ever met in a book, both fictional and real. Snow White’s horrid stepmother was more likeable. (I’m not kidding.) They refused to help the girls that their negligence had murdered. They refused to believe that radium could cause harm. Even when they found out that indeed, radium was poisonous, they didn’t care. They lied and cheated and manipulated as young women lost their lives in direst agony. I have never been as angered by a book.

Despite the deaths, the families left without their daughters, wives, mothers, aunts, the friends left behind to mourn them, the book was a real inspiration. Even though Kate Moore’s writing left something to be desired, and though the narrator was frankly dreadful, the story captivated me. I hope that I can learn to be as brave and as determined as the women I met in this book. May they all rest in peace.

Edit: One of the little clocks in my bedroom has a luminous dial. It used to belong to my grandmother, and passed to me after her death. This little clock that glows at night is old enough that it probably passed through the hands of a radium-dial painter and may even have been one of the clock faces that contributed in a small way to a young woman slowly being poisoned by radium. I will treasure it all the more. ( )
  ahef1963 | May 5, 2024 |
Reasonably well-written and well-researched, if sometimes a bit over sensational in its presentation. Unfortunately, the story is not terribly interesting in its nitty-gritty details. Once you know the basic outline of what happened here, all the ins and outs of what, exactly, happened to each of the girls and how, exactly, the trials played out is a trifle tedious. I'm torn about books like this: I think it's important to tell such stories and to honor the unfair and unjust treatment of ordinary folks by doing so, but the reading experience also felt kind of without purpose after a certain point. ( )
  lycomayflower | May 5, 2024 |
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Moore, Kateprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Brazil, AngelaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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I shall never forget you... Hearts that know you love you And lips that have given you laughter Have gone to their lifetime of grief and of roses Searching for dreams that they lost In the world, far away from your walls. ---Ottawa High School yearbook, 1925
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For all the dial-painters And those who loved them.
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(Prologue) The scientist had forgotten all about the radium.
Katherine Schaub had a jaunty spring in her step as she walked the brief four blocks to work.
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As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" were considered the luckiest alive--until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America's biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights. The Radium Girls explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.

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