The first book we are discussing this October is The Radium Girls by Kate Moore, a non fiction book about the women who painted watch dials with radium paint in the early part of the 20th century.
I want to start by telling you how much I love this book. I can’t do that because I have to first tell you that you should not read this book at the same time. It’s an amazing, but disgusting book. You get to learn about the women and their lives as much as you do the case. It also talks a lot about the way society became obsessed with radium. That is, before they knew it was killing them.
This book got me thinking about how we are so quick to jump on to new discoveries and then turn on them when they are actually quite harmful. While I do think companies should take care of employees, especially those who get sick from working for them, the way our society turns on companies and things often surprises me. There are probably a lot of factors to consider. On one hand, we love new discoveries that make us healthier or save us time. We also like to accept them without question. This book even discusses how easy it was for people in authority to assure many people that, even though their jaw was falling off, the radium was not to blame. They didn’t even seem to have to lie to most people. When they did lie, it was elaborate and even more destructive. We also don’t like to take the time to wait and see if something is as good as it seems. It is often too good to be true. There are times, especially when treating diseases, that the situation is too critical to wait for all the information and long term effect to become clear. Other times there is too much money to be made by releasing something before you should.
Here are some webpages you might like to see:
Did you read the book yet? Tell me in the comments! In November the first book we are discussing will be Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Eatwell which you can get on Amazon now.
In the comments, tell me what you thought of The Radium Girls!