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They paid with their lives.

Their final fight was for justice.

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‘In this thrilling and carefully crafted book, Kate Moore tells the shocking story of how early 20th-century corporate and legal America set about silencing dozens of working-class women who had been systematically poisoned by radiation ... As Moore explains so lyrically, for a long time the “radium girls” thought they were the luckiest girls in the world ... Even when it became evident that radium was deadly, the employers refused to admit liability ... But the establishment had not reckoned on the bravery and determination of the radium girls ...’ Five stars

Press and blog reviews for The Radium Girls

Mail on Sunday logo 5 Stars

‘[A] diligent account ... Moore has proved to be a prodigious researcher, drawing on unpublished sources and interviewing dozens of family [members] and descendants of the dial-painters ... The overall tone of this fascinating social history – one that significantly reflects on the class and gender of those involved – [is] Catherine Cookson meets Mad Men ... The importance of the brave and blighted dial-painters cannot be overstated.’ [read full review]

Sunday Times BBC_Radio_4

‘Heartbreaking ... What this book illustrates brilliantly is that battling for justice against big corporations isn’t easy ... [The radium girls’ story is] a terrible example of appalling injustice.’

‘Kate Moore pays tribute to last century’s tragic factory workers, who suffered grotesque poisoning from luminous paint ... Moore learned about the “radium girls” when she directed a play about them, and she writes with a sense of drama that carries one through the serpentine twists and turns of this tragic but ultimately uplifting story. She sees the trees for the wood: always at the centre of her narrative are the individual dial painters, so the list of their names at the start of the book becomes a register of familiar, endearing ghosts.’  [read the full review]

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‘Fascinating yet tragic. Book of the Week.’

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UK press

US press

‘Moore's well-researched narrative is written with clarity and a sympathetic voice that brings these figures and their struggles to life...a must-read for anyone interested in American and women's history, as well as topics of law, health, and industrial safety.’ – Library Journal, STARRED review

‘A perfect blend of the historical, the scientific, and the personal, this richly detailed book sheds a whole new light on this unique element and the role it played in changing workers' rights. The Radium Girls makes it impossible for you to ignore these women's incredible stories, and proves why, now more than ever, we can't afford to ignore science, either.’ – Bustle [read the full review]

Bustle

Radium Girls spares us nothing of their suffering; though at times the foreshadowing reads more like a true-crime story, Moore is intent on making the reader viscerally understand the pain in which these young women were living, and through which they had to fight in order to get their problems recognized...The story of real women at the mercy of businesses who see them only as a potential risk to the bottom line is haunting precisely because of how little has changed; the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still.’ – NPR  [read the full review]

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‘This timely book celebrates the strength of a group of women whose determination to fight improved both labor laws and scientific knowledge of radium poisoning. English author Moore, who directed a play about the girls, writes in a highly readable, narrative style, and her chronicle of these inspirational women’s lives is sure to provoke discussion—and outrage—in book groups’ – Booklist STARRED review   [read the full review]

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‘Carefully researched, the work will stun readers with its descriptions of the glittering artisans who, oblivious to health dangers, twirled camel-hair brushes to fine points using their mouths, a technique called lip-pointing...Moore details what was a 'ground-breaking, law-changing, and life-saving accomplishment' for worker's rights.’ – Publishers Weekly  [read the full review]

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Blog reviews and articles

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GIMMETHATBOOK: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (April 18 2017)

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The Irregular Reader: Book review: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (April 29 2017)

‘The women we meet in this book are all so exceptional, bright, warm, cheerful. The way some of them fight this incredibly crippling condition they’re faced with was so inspiring... This book doesn’t read like like non-fiction, for starters! You will be drawn into the story instantly, you will even cry. Some of you – more than once.’

‘Moore’s prose is vivid throughout and peppered with some beautifully lyric moments.... I won’t soon forget the Radium Girls, either the book or the girls themselves.’

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is at once captivating and devastating, an emotionally tough book to read...This is really great narrative non-fiction and I highly recommend it!’

The Radium Girls was one of the best books I’ve read in a while, partly because the subject is fascinating, and because it allowed me to feel a gamut of emotions; to have me truly invested in the story and its outcome.’

The Radium Girls is thoroughly researched and impeccably written. The depth of Moore’s work is nothing short of breathtaking...Her careful attention to detail makes these women, who lived and dies so long ago, seem real and alive in the pages of the book.’

‘Moore has brought the Radium Girls to life, highlighting their personalities and private lives...She has successfully depicted them as real people, bravely banding together and refusing to give up, despite insults and mockery from their employers and a tough uphill battle through the legal system.’ – Book Reporter  [read the full review]

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‘Moore tells the stories of these girls, from fresh-faced teens and twenty-somethings to desperate, debilitated, and many cases dying, women with grace, power, and heart...Drop whatever you’re reading and pick this up... must-read.  Not just for history fans – readers of legal thrillers (fiction and non) will find this true story engrossing. Ditto readers of cultural anthropology, and women’s/worker’s rights.’

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The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is a fascinating account of what went on in these radium dial factories, both in New Jersey and small town Illinois... The book covers the processes used in the factories, some rather gruesome details about the effects the women with radium poisoning suffered, and the legal battles that followed in order to get the women some compensation.  READ THIS BOOK. It was amazing... It’ll break your heart. You’ll learn things.’

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‘The women’s sisterhood and devotion to one another, how they band together in the face of their shared illness to continue to fight for justice even as women are dying off, is utterly inspiring.’