Book Review: Radium Girls

Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women  by Kate Moore


If you have never heard of the Radium Girls and their true story please read this book.  I am sure you all have heard of Madame Marie Curie, the pioneering physicist and chemist, who lived in France.  She was celebrated for her discovery of radium, and is still celebrated today for what she did for women in science.  She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, but I digress.  The book isn’t about her, but her discovery.  It is the story of radium, and what it did to women in America during the 1920s and 1930s.  I recommend it as a study for those of you involved in the fight for medical freedom. 

It is astonishing how history repeats itself.   As the famous quote states, “if you don’t study history you are doomed to repeat it.”  Radium history seems to echo another product many today claim to be the “greatest product” since sliced bread. You know the product.  It starts with V and rhymes with the name Maxine.  You will feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster, when you read the stories of the brave women who took on major corporations, for hiding the truth about the damage radium paint was doing in their bodies.  No one wanted to believe what these women had to say.   It was a fight that saw women and their families pitted against big American Corporations. Sound familiar? 

You will read  how no one was allowed to question the beneficial use of radium.  You will be surprised to know the world felt radium was the “cure-all”  to many ailments, and could do no wrong.  It was used in many commercial products.  Knowing what we now know about radium, you wonder, “Why would they think to use radium to make that product?!”

Here is an ad for radium therapy: 

An Ad for Hair product: 

Read this article to learn what they did with radium, the products  and “cures”: 

I repeat no one was allowed to question radium.  No one could say anything negative about it without being labeled a crazy person.   The radium industry had doctors, and marketing on their side.   No one could say it was unsafe and ineffective.  No one would believe you if you did. Does this sound familiar? 

This book!  Ay!  Be prepared. One minute, you won’t be able to put it down. In the next minute, you will want to throw it across the room in frustration.  Luckily, the truth was on these women’s side. THE TRUTH!   They found lawyers with a moral compass, and doctors willing to speak up against the status quo. If you don’t want to know how it ends…..STOP READING NOW. SPOILER ALERT.  (I know it’s ironic I say this now, since most of this review could be considered a spoiler alert. My apologies.)   

Because people with integrity rose up to fight against the injustice of greed and the lies behind this product, the book has a bittersweet ending.  Why do I recommend it if the ending is not happily ever after?  I want those of you fighting for medical freedom and truth to see victory is possible.  Truth will always find a way when people speak up against injustices and are not afraid to stand up for what is right.  It shows the power of many individuals speaking out, speaking up, and sharing their stories.  I hope one day the fight for Medical Freedom will have a similar ending, one where the truth wins.  Maybe in that future, one who reads this book will be reminded of how the fight for medical freedom was won and say, “Sounds familiar.  

Written by: Mia Lowry