A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! "the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."—NPR Books The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger 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...
Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf book club choice New York Times bestseller ‘Fascinating.’ Sunday Times ‘Thrilling.’ ????? Mail on Sunday All they wanted was the chance to shine. Be careful what you wish for… ‘The first thing we asked was, “Does this stuff hurt you?” And they said, “No.” The company said that it wasn’t dangerous, that we didn’t need to be afraid.’ As the First World War spread across the world, young American women flocked to work in factories, painting clocks, watches and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous – the girls shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in dust from the paint. However, as the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses. It turned out that the very thing that had made them feel alive – their work – was slowly killing them: the radium paint was poisonous. Their employers denied all responsibility, but these courageous women – in the face of unimaginable suffering – refused to accept their fate quietly, and instead became determined to fight for justice. Drawing on previously unpublished diaries, letters and interviews, The Radium Girls is an intimate narrative of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar. Further praise for The Radium Girls 'The importance of the brave and blighted dial-painters cannot be overstated.’ Sunday Times ‘A perfect blend of the historical, the scientific and the personal.' Bustle ‘Thrilling and carefully crafted.’ Mail on Sunday?
In the early twentieth century, a group of women workers hired to apply luminous paint to watch faces and instrument dials found themselves among the first victims of radium poisoning. Claudia Clark's book tells the compelling story of these women, who at
This book presents a compelling account of atomic development over the last century that demonstrates how humans have repeatedly chosen to ignore the associated impacts for the sake of technological, scientific, military, and economic expediency. * Draws from top-secret government and military documents from the history of atomic development, archival documents from the Library of Congress, and letters from Albert Einstein and other prominent scientists during the 1950s and 1960s * Presents chronological histories of events such as the displacement and relocation of the Bikini Islanders, uranium mines on Native American lands, and the cleanup of a secret uranium milling facility in a residential neighborhood in Oxford, Ohio * Contains various maps including radioactive cleanup sites in the United States and other parts of the world * Includes many photographs and illustrations that accompany the text * Provides a bibliography containing a significant collection of books, magazine articles, newspaper reports, movies, comics, government documents, and other related archival materials
THE STORY: THESE SHINING LIVES chronicles the strength and determination of women considered expendable in their day, exploring their true story and its continued resonance. Catherine and her friends are dying, it's true; but theirs is a story of s
Radium Halos is historical fiction based on the true events of the Radium Girls: a group of female factory workers who, in the early 1920s, contracted radiation poisoning from painting luminous watch and clock dials with radium paint. Our narrator is Helen Waterman, a 65-year-old mental patient who worked at the factory when she was 16. She tells us her story through flashbacks, slowly revealing her past, the loved ones she’s lost, and the dangerous secrets she’s kept all these years. "While the subject matter is intense, the tone of the novel is surprisingly light. Thanks is due to Helen who adds humor through her naive and bluntly honest outlook."The Historical Novel Review"At turns humorous, feisty, and heartrendingly childlike, Helen’s narrative voice is powerfully blunt."Red Adept's Kindle Book Review Blog"5 Stars......this was a novel to tug at the heart."FOREWORDby Leonard GrossmanFive years before I was born, my father, Leonard J. Grossman, represented women from Ottawa, Illinois in litigation against the Radium Dial Corporation seeking not merely damages but also recognition of what had been done to them. I grew up in the shadow of the Radium Dial case, a landmark in workers’ rights in this country. I was deeply proud of my father and infuriated, as he was, by the injustice inflicted on these women. I am sure this background is one reason I became a government lawyer enforcing workers’ rights. So when I came across Radium Halos by Shelley Stout I was very excited.Sometimes fiction can speak truth in ways that the bare facts cannot. Ms. Stout has found a unique voice in which to tell the tragic story of the Radium Dial workers and at the same time to say much about life in this country. The story goes beyond the Radium Dial case and reflects much about our attitudes toward work, women, mental illness and aging. Along the way it speaks of fear and loyalty and truth itself.Leonard GrossmanSeptember 2009
NATIONAL BESTSELLER “A delightful debut.”—People For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II. As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past. An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.
Playbook.
Writer Rinker Buck looks back more than 30 years to a summer when he and his brother, at ages 15 and 17 respectively, became the youngest duo to fly across America, from New Jersey to California. Having grown up in an aviation family, the two boys bought an old Piper Cub, restored it themselves, and set out on the grand journey. Buck is a great storyteller, and once you get airborne with the boys you find yourself absorbed in a story of adventure and family drama. And Flight of Passage is also an affecting look back to the summer of 1966, when the times seemed much less cynical and adventures much more enjoyable.
The Only Harmless Great Thing is a heart-wrenching alternative history by Brooke Bolander that imagines an intersection between the Radium Girls and noble, sentient elephants. In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. These are the facts. Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.
In the vein of Richard Russo and Tom Perrotta, a gripping, suspenseful, and gorgeous debut novel--told hour-by-hour over the course of a single day--in which a husband and wife try to outrun long-buried secrets, sending their lives spiraling into chaos.
The Doomed Legions of Ottawa. . .At the turn of the 20th Century radium became a miracle cure for almost any ailment and was advertised in several European nations. When radium was introduced into the United States it achieved a similar popularity. After World War I several companies decided to use radium to paint watch dials, a fad that resulted in the manufacture of luminous dials, and successful sales of wrist watches, pocket watches and alarm clocks. When a luminous dial processing company opened in Ottawa, Illinois, it offered great employment opportunities to many young girls who were paid very well for their work. Little did they know that the radium paint they used proved to be dangerous. Many of the girls became ill and died after using lip pointing techniques to paint the dial numerals and hands. The company denied there was such an illness as radium poisoning and did whatever it could to cover up its failure to determine what made their employees become sick and die. It took legal action and governmental intervention to end the death toll and to force the companies to take responsibility. Nearly a century later, the scar that stretched across the peaceful history of this small Illinois town continues to be exposed, as more areas of contaminated soil are being excavated. The community has come to terms with what happened and recognized those girls and their families that suffered through this dark time by erecting a statue to a radium dial girl, paying tribute to those dial painters and their work with radium.
In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules—which hasn't been done in a century—that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country. Spanning 2,000 miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. In the fifteen years before the Civil War, when 400,000 pioneers used it to emigrate West—historians still regard this as the largest land migration of all time—the trail united the coasts, doubled the size of the country, and laid the groundwork for the railroads. The trail years also solidified the American character: our plucky determination in the face of adversity, our impetuous cycle of financial bubbles and busts, the fractious clash of ethnic populations competing for the same jobs and space. Today, amazingly, the trail is all but forgotten. Rinker Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. The New Yorker described his first travel narrative,Flight of Passage, as “a funny, cocky gem of a book,” and with The Oregon Trailhe seeks to bring the most important road in American history back to life. At once a majestic American journey, a significant work of history, and a personal saga reminiscent of bestsellers by Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed, the book tells the story of Buck's 2,000-mile expedition across the plains with tremendous humor and heart. He was accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl. Along the way, Buck dodges thunderstorms in Nebraska, chases his runaway mules across miles of Wyoming plains, scouts more than five hundred miles of nearly vanished trail on foot, crosses the Rockies, makes desperate fifty-mile forced marches for water, and repairs so many broken wheels and axels that he nearly reinvents the art of wagon travel itself. Apart from charting his own geographical and emotional adventure, Buck introduces readers to the evangelists, shysters, natives, trailblazers, and everyday dreamers who were among the first of the pioneers to make the journey west. With a rare narrative power, a refreshing candor about his own weakness and mistakes, and an extremely attractive obsession for history and travel,The Oregon Trail draws readers into the journey of a lifetime.
The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the American women who secretly served as codebreakers during World War II--a "prodigiously researched and engrossing" (New York Times) book that "shines a light on a hidden chapter of American history" (Denver Post). Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.
In Stepdaughters of History, noted scholar Catherine Clinton reflects on the roles of women as historical actors within the field of Civil War studies and examines the ways in which historians have redefined female wartime participation. Clinton contends that despite the recent attention, white and black women’s contributions remain shrouded in myth and sidelined in traditional historical narratives. Her work tackles some of these well-worn assumptions, dismantling prevailing attitudes that consign women to the footnotes of Civil War texts. Clinton highlights some of the debates, led by emerging and established Civil War scholars, which seek to demolish demeaning and limiting stereotypes of southern women as simpering belles, stoic Mammies, Rebel spitfires, or sultry spies. Such caricatures mask the more concrete and compelling struggles within the Confederacy, and in Clinton’s telling, a far more balanced and vivid understanding of women’s roles within the wartime South emerges. New historical evidence has given rise to fresh insights, including important revisionist literature on women’s overt and covert participation in activities designed to challenge the rebellion and on white women’s roles in reshaping the war’s legacy in postwar narratives. Increasingly, Civil War scholarship integrates those women who defied gender conventions to assume men’s roles—including those few who gained notoriety as spies, scouts, or soldiers during the war. As Clinton’s work demonstrates, the larger questions of women’s wartime contributions remain important correctives to our understanding of the war’s impact. Through a fuller appreciation of the dynamics of sex and race, Stepdaughters of History promises a broader conversation in the twenty-first century, inviting readers to continue to confront the conundrums of the American Civil War. “Spies, smugglers, nurses, plantation mistresses, liberators of slaves, traders, writers, freedom fighters, wives, and mothers—Catherine Clinton considers the many roles of diverse groups of southern women from the Civil War to the late nineteenth century in these lively and provocative essays.”—Jacqueline Jones, author of Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present “Clinton's sweeping synthesis is a timely call for rethinking women's roles in the Civil War. Her panoramic view of the existing scholarship, her revealing new histories, and the questions that she raises for the future offer a rich scholarly feast that is useful for undergraduates and seasoned historians alike.”—Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History, Yale University “Stepdaughters of History is a timely treatise on the legacy of the Civil War and how Americans both remember and forget the women who dreamt and helped build the landscape with which we reside. The writing is accessible and engaging. Clinton integrates gender studies, political history, and current events into this slim volume and challenges us to continue to build a Civil War historiography that is full and more honest.”—Deirdre Cooper-Owens, professor of history, Queens College, CUNY “Catherine Clinton delights in disentangling the ambiguities and contradictions of the experiences of southern women, whether they were free or enslaved or rich or poor, in Stepdaughters of History. In this beautifully written volume, she explores how the field of Civil War history has demolished the Lost Cause shibboleths of the devoted mammy and the submissive plantation mistress. Clinton reminds us that history should never offer the comfort of a bedtime story, and in Stepdaughters of History there is plenty for us to ponder late into the night.”—Peter Carmichael, director of the Civil War Institute and author of The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion

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