Buon lunedì, prodi seguaci!🕝
Si torna a parlare di libri con una citazione dalla mia lettura del fine settimana, una lettura emotivamente molto impegnativa. Si tratta di The Radium Girls di Kate Moore, che racconta la storia delle ragazze del radio, cioé delle operaie che furono avvelenate dalle radiazioni del radio contenuto nella vernice radioluminescente utilizzata per dipingere i quadranti degli orologi, usati soprattutto in ambito militare.
Grace Fryer was also telling truths. «I couldn’t say I’m happy», she admitted, «but at least I’m not utterly discouraged. I intend to make the most out of what life is left me». And, when the time came, she said she wanted to donate her body to science, so that doctors might be able to find a cure; the other girls would later follow suit. «My body means nothing but pain to me», Grace revealed, «and it might mean longer life or relief to the others, if science had it. It’s all I have to give». She gave a determined smile. «Can’t you understand why I’m offering it?»
The journalists almost swooned. «It is not a question of giving up hope», one reporter commented after Grace’s promise. «Grace has hope – not that selfish hope that perhaps you or I might have, but the hope for contributing betterment to humanity».
Ordinary women in 1920s America.
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.’
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Drawing on previously unpublished sources – including diaries, letters and court transcripts, as well as original interviews with the women’s relatives – The Radium Girls is an intimate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 Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar.