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Publisher's Summary

The year was 1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks, and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous - the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls.

As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses. The very thing that had made them feel alive - their work - was in fact slowly killing them: They had been poisoned by the radium paint. Yet their employers denied all responsibility. And so, in the face of unimaginable suffering - in the face of death - these courageous women refused to accept their fate quietly and instead became determined to fight for justice.

Drawing on previously unpublished sources - including diaries, letters, and court transcripts as well as original interviews with the women's relatives - The Radium Girls is an intimate narrative account of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring 20s who themselves learned how to roar.

©2017 Kate Moore (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A simple way to improve the robotic narration

The narrator is pretty dreadful, but there's an easy way to make her delivery more palatable: use your Audible app to increase the speed from 1.0x to 1.25x. It considerably smooths out the robotic delivery. It's still not a great narration, but it makes it listenable.

40 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the story but...

I loved the story, the history in it, the shadiness of big business. Everything like that. The story was what compelled me to finish the book. The narrator on the other had was extremely difficult for me to handle. The reading was fine, speed and accent was fine. However you could hear every swallow, mouth movement and lip smack. It was so distracting and I could barely handle it. The editing of this was horrible. It seemed like every sentence you could hear it. So I could not listen to this with ear buds or else I would be so distracted and annoyed about it. Great story but should have just bought the book not the audio version

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Ten minutes in

For the love of anything you find holy, do not let this narrator near a microphone ever again. I'm offering three stars on the assumption that the book is amazing and clever, but the reader poorly chosen. And by 'poorly', here I mean intently and possibly criminally.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tragic, enraging story

If you could sum up The Radium Girls in three words, what would they be?

corporate malfeasance, horrifying, important

What other book might you compare The Radium Girls to and why?

This book is reminiscent of other works that document scientific misconduct in America, such as The Plutonium Files, Imbeciles, and Medical Apartheid. It is especially notable for the way in which it emphasizes the humanity of the women whose lives it documents. Although the story of the radium girls was sketched in a brief outline in my first ever lab safety training, I always assumed that the path to remuneration and industry reform had been straightforward and smooth. This book instead illustrates not only the importance of incorporating societal values into scientific endeavors, but also the difficulties of doing so when money and corporations' welfares are at stake. It is powerful and timely and speaks to the continuing need for governmental checks on corporate greed.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Angela Brazil's narration was very strange. Her vocal intonations and rhythms often sounded more like a computer reading text than a human, and the emphasis was often misplaced within a sentence. This was jarring and detracted from the continuity of the story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

From ghost girls to the living dead

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Radium Girls

I really enjoyed the book. I thought the story was compelling and informative. I did not care for the narrator. It was read in a robot-like voice , it made me wish that I picked up a hardcopy of the book instead.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get past the reading style

The book is great but I'm going to request a refund for the audio book. We couldn't even listen past a few minutes because the reader pauses in the middle of sentences where you wouldn't normally pause and fluctuates her volume in a way that is strange and hard to listen to. It doesn't flow at all and it extremely hard to listen to.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling and relevant.

The story draws you in as you learn about the lives of the women the book describes. The narrator is lack luster, and irritating at times.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • CQ
  • 05-12-17

Don't buy this on audio

While the story of the Radium Girls is an important one, the book is sluggish and lacking anything interesting besides the facts of the history of the Radium Girls. I kept waiting for the story to take off, but it never did. The audio narrator was the worst I've ever heard. Even at 1.25 speed she was still painful to listen to.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A forgotten part of history, illuminated once more

This was an amazing read and listen. I had been eyeballing this book for several months after I heard of it's release on NPR. However, every time I'd go to look for it at Books-a-Million, it'd be $30; the Kindle e-book wasn't that much cheaper at $26. I was lucky that I happened to log into Amazon during the Kindle's 10th Anniversary Book Sale, and was able to snag the book for $2! I went ahead and later got the audible version, as well, so I could listen to it while my commute to and from work in the mornings.

Kate Moore tales the true, historical account of the Radium Girls in a beautifully, hauntingly crafted narrative non-fiction. The Radium Girls were a group of women from the early 1900's who had begun working with luminescent paint, composed primarily of radium, in order to help with the war effort. They used this paint to coat hand and pocket watches, so that soldiers could tell the time despite whether or not it was dark. The public was enthralled with the idea of "glow in the dark" watches, and soon the company began manufacturing their products for public sale. The American Public was, to say the least, having a romance with 'radium', which was newly discovered at the time. The factory workers were encouraged to put the radium paint coated brushes in their mouth, in order to wet the brush without wasting as much of the product, in comparison to wiping the brush down or dipping it in water. The corporation swore that the radium was full of medicinal properties that the women were lucky to be exposed to, when handling the radium. Some even swore that it would make the women "more attractive". They were lying. The executives of these radium corporations knew that with every exposure to the radioactive paint, these women were signing their death warrants, unknowingly, in the name of capitalism and corporate production.

The account of these women were horrifying, but was very well written. The non-fiction narrative read as well as many fiction books do, and had my attention from start to finish. I found it morbidly fascinating as a cancer patient, who has been exposed to several different radioactive isotopes in order to treat the disease. It was horrifying know that I had ingested material related to what these women had unknowingly been absorbing; Had to fight to keep myself from being a bit like a hypochondriac. What shocks me the most is the gall of these corporations, knowing full well that they were leading these women to a painful, slow death and having the audacity to lie publicly about it. Kate Moore's book is well worth the read, but just as a word of warning: when your curiosity begins getting the best of you, I'd not recommend you google images of 'jaw necrosis'.

As for the audible narration of the text. I've read several complaints on here that the narrator repeatedly smacked her lips, breathed into the microphone, and slurred her words. I did not find this to be the case at all. I had no issues with the narrator whatsoever. While she was not the best narrator that I've ever listened to, Angela Brazil did a commendable job. I found her voice to be very pleasant, and that she enunciated her words perfectly clear. The only reason that she received a 4/5 rating from me was because I'm used to many narrators of non-fictional texts, striving to make each character recognizable different in sound. Brazil had generally one voice throughout the text. Nothing to be put off about, but not as creative as some audible narrators.

I would absolutely recommend "Radium Girls" by Kate Moore, as well as the audible narration of the book, by Angelina Brazil.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jace
  • Houston
  • 05-16-17

Fascinating

Any additional comments?

Such an interesting and heartbreaking account of the history of the dial painters. I grew up near Ottawa, Illinois and had never heard of the Radium Girls! After listening to this fascinating book, I asked friends and relatives if they had ever heard of the Radium Girls, and they all said yes. Some had friends whose mothers, grandmothers or aunts died of cancer years after working as dial painters.

The book moves seamlessly between New Jersey and Illinois, and it is easy to get lost in the era - to imagine these young girls so full of life, the stylish clothes they purchased with income from their new jobs as dial painters, their pride in the contribution they were making to the war effort, and then the horror they felt as their health rapidly declined.

Definitely worth a listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful