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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > August 2016 > Books

Books

This month’s best historical books

BOOK REVIEWS

BOOK OF THE MONTH

The Radium Girls

By Kate Moore

Simon & Schuster, £16.99, 465 pages, hardback

Young American women loved their job painting clocks and dials, but they didn’t know the substances they used made them sick, or worse
CHR/NATIONAL ARCHIVES CHICAGO X2, CHICAGO DAILY TIMES-COURTESY OF SUN-TIMES MEDIA X1

By following the lives of some early-20th-century teenage girls employed in American factories, Kate Moore pays tribute to their extraordinary, heartbreaking story. Teir well-paid job was to paint clocks and dials with a paint made from radium. Told the glowing substance was harmless, these ‘radium girls’ licked their brushes and daubed paint on their faces, nails and teeth. But years went by and the glamour of using the paint, which made them glow in the dark, faded to reveal a darker truth – the radium was killing them, slowly and painfully.

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August 2016 issue of History Revealed.