Read It Now – The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore slipped through my literary fingers when it was published and somehow I didn’t read it until now. I listened to a My Favorite Murder podcast where the Radium Girls were discussed and I was immediately interested in learning more.


This is a fascinating and intense book about the factory women who painted glowing dials on clocks and watches using radium infused paint starting around 1917.  Radium wasn’t thought to be dangerous or toxic and some even thought it contained healing properties. Long story short, the radium caused the women to get gravely ill. Many of them suffered long and painful illnesses as a result of working closely with the radium. The company denied the connection between the toxic radium and the women’s sicknesses and the book explains the corruption and lack of concern for the women along with corporate greed.

Radium girls: The dark times of radioactive paint - CNN Style


Your heart will break as you read the stories of these women and their fight for justice.


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. And 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.


Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

face death - Radium Girls -



If you love non- fiction, science, true crime, this is a five-star book that does a great job of showing the devastating stories of the women with lots of detail and facts. I can’t imagine the huge undertaking of writing this book.



Buy the book here!