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“Uplifting and beautifully written, The Radium Girls is a tribute to the strength of women everywhere.”
Nathalia Holt, NYT bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls
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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.


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 The New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History

Named a Notable Nonfiction Book of 2018 by the American Library Association

Voted U.S. librarians’ favourite nonfiction book of the year 2017


Voted U.S. booksellers’ no. 1 recommended book for reading groups, summer 2018


A ‘Book of the Year’ for NPR, Barnes & Noble, the Chicago Public Library, BookBrowse and The Reading Agency


Selected for Emma Watson’s My Shared Shelf feminist book club


An Indie Next pick and Junior Library Guild selection


Published in ten foreign editions


Audiobook read by the author

Young readers’ edition also available



“In this thrilling and carefully crafted book, Kate Moore tells the shocking story of how early twentieth-century corporate and legal America set about silencing dozens of working-class women who had been systematically poisoned by radiation… Moore [writes] so lyrically…FIVE STARS.”

- Mail on Sunday

“[A] fascinating social history… The importance of the brave and blighted dial painters cannot be overstated.”

- The Sunday Times

“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… The Radium Girls makes it impossible for you to ignore these women’s incredible stories.”

- Bustle 

“Kate Moore has dug deep to expose a wrong that still resonates—as it should—in this country. Exceptional!”

- San Francisco Book Review

Radium Girls spares us nothing of their suffering… 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 Books

“Kate Moore…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 center 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.”

- The Spectator

“Kate Moore’s gripping narrative about the betrayal of the radium girls—gracefully told and exhaustively researched—makes this a nonfiction classic.”

- Rinker Buck, author of The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey and Flight of Passage: A True Story

“Kate Moore vividly depicts the female factory workers whose courage led to a revolution in industrial safety standards. In describing their heart-wrenching struggles and bittersweet triumphs, Moore delivers an intimate portrait of these pioneers. Uplifting and beautifully written, The Radium Girls is a tribute to the strength of women everywhere.”

- Nathalia Holt, New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Rocket Girls 

“Written in a highly readable, narrative style, Moore’s chronicle of these inspirational women’s lives is sure to provoke discussion—and outrage—in book groups.”

- Booklist, STARRED review

“Current nonfiction obsession! The Radium Girls by Kate Moore is powerful, disturbing, important history.”

- Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park

“Radium Girls is a shocking, heartbreaking story of corporate greed and denial and the strength of the human spirit in face of it. To read it is to honour these women who unwittingly sacrificed their lives but whose courage to stand up and be heard speaks to us from the grave. It is a tale for our times.”

- Peter Stark, author of Astoria

“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.”

- BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 

“Like Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls tells the story of a cohort of women who made history by entering the workforce at the dawn of a new scientific era… Moore sheds new light on a dark chapter in American labour history; the ‘Radium Girls’, martyrs to an unholy alliance of commerce and science, live again in her telling.”

- Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast

“We all should know the stories of these women who suffered through radium poisoning and refused to be silenced. This isn’t just an important part of history, but a page-turner that will leave you heartbroken and emboldened. It is a must-read.”

- Rachel Ignotofsky, author of Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Other Books By Kate Moore
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