Review: The Radium Girls, by Kate Moore

Published by: Sourcebooks

Publication date: 1st May 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781492649359

Format: Hardback

Price: £20.89

Blurb

The incredible true story of the young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium and their brave struggle for justice…

As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive—until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights.

A rich, historical narrative written in a sparkling voice, The Radium Girls is the first book that fully explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind. 

Kate Moore is a Sunday Times best selling writer with more than a decade’s experience writing and ghosting across varying genres, including memoir, biography, and history. In 2005 she directed a critically acclaimed play about the Radium Girls called ‘These Shining Lives.’ She lives in the UK.


My Review

What an absolutely fascinating story! 

I’ve heard of the Radium Girls, women who worked painting dials for various companies in the U.S. who were killed by the radium they were injesting and the callousness of the companies they worked for. This book provides the human stories of the women, their suffering and their battle for justice, utilising letters, photo albums, the memories of family and friends and documentation such as newspapers and legal papers. The story of these women is inspiring and the author does an excellent job of telling it.

I may have cried somewhat.

Definitely recommended.





Review: Strange History, by Bathroom Reader’s Institute

Published by: Portable Press

Publication Date: 14th June 2016

Format: Paperback

Price: $15.99

I.S.B.N.: 9781626865839

Blurb

From the 20th century to the Old West, from the Age of Enlightenment to the Dark Ages, from ancient cultures all the way back to the dawn of time,Strange History is overflowing with mysterious artifacts, macabre legends, kooky inventions, reality-challenged rulers, boneheaded blunders, and mind-blowing facts. Read about…

*The curse of Macbeth
*Stupid history: Hollywood style
*The secret LSD experiments of the 1960s
*In search of the lost “Cloud People” of Peru
*The Swedish queen who declared war on fleas
*Unearthing the past with the Outhouse Detectives
*The Apollo astronaut who swears he saw a UFO
*How to brew a batch of 5,000-year-old beer
*The brutal bloodbaths at Rome’s Coliseum
*Ghostly soup from ancient China
*The bathroom of the 1970s

And much, much more


My Review

Honestly, if this was supposed to be a humorous look at history I was only mildly amused. I only laughed a couple of times in the whole book. It’s a book that is part of a series covering strange facts. I can’t say I’d buy any of them if this one was an example. 

There were errors, most obviously the whole section on Easter, which aggravated me particularly because every year someone spouts the bunnies and Eostre nonsense (there are no surviving myths) claiming it’s all ancient mythology and then I have to hit them with a copy of Ecclesiastical History (The Venerable Bede) and again with Teutonic Mythology  (The Grimms), until they shut up. A book claiming to be about (the funny side of) history needs to be better than rehashing debunked rubbish. I may be being picky, but referring to the English and Welshmen who made up the armies of the Hundred Year’s War as ‘British’ is a misnomer; until about 150 years ago ‘Britain’ and ‘British’ referred to pre-Roman  people or the island specifically. The British didn’t fight the French during the Hundred Year’s War, the English did, and the Welsh were recruited for their bows. There was some pretty complex politics involved. 

And Joan of Arc heard voices because she was eating rye bread infected with ergot.
*bashes head against wall*

I’m sorry, I hadn’t realised how much this book irritated me. I like funny history books, the world can be a funny place amd history more so because the past is so alien, but funny, accurate history is preferred, at least by me.

Not recommended, although if you want a mildly amusing time when you defecate, this might do the job. I can think of better bog reading though.



Review: The Dark Side of East London, by David Charnick

Published by: Pen & Sword

Publication Date: 30th September 2016

Format: Hardcover

Price: £19.99

I.S.B.N.: 9781473856448

Blurb

Review: Zombie Nation book 1: Zombie Juice, by Samantha Warren

Publication Date: 5th October 2016

Available from Amazon (link will provided as soon as possible)

Ebook received in return for an honest review. 

The Kin twins, Kinley and Kincaid have lived in White Willows all their lives, almost sixteen years. They can just about remember the time before the zombie apocalypse. They live with their grandmother and help her run the town diner around their schooling. Soon they’ll finish school and become adults with more responsibility. 

Then a convoy comes to town, bringing with it a new and deadly drug. And and new future for the twins.
This is a short book, only 80 pages long, but it was very enjoyable and certainly more original than some of the zombie apocalypse books I’ve read in the last year or so. The Kin twins are likeable characters and well-written, plot is well thought out and easy to read, and I like where it’s going. This book is a prologue to the series and we must wait to see where the author takes her characters. 
There were a few editing errors, in word choice or grammar, which I’m sure will be ironed out before publication, but other than that I liked this YA novel.

Review: The Tudor Murder Files, by James Moore

Published by: Pen & Sword History

Publication Date: 30th September 2016

I.S.B.N.:9781473857032

Format: Paperback

Price: £14.99

Blurb

An interesting book covering well-known and less well-known murders of the Tudor era. With as much detail as possible, and relying on pamphlets printed at the time, this book explores a more violent age where death was a constant threat and policing nonexistent.

Review: Mary Ann Cotton – Dark Angel; Britain’s First Female Serial Killer, by Martin Connelly

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Published by: Pen & Sword History

Published: 1st August 2016

ISBN: 9781473876200

Format: Paperback

Price: £10.39 (from publisher)

Usual disclaimer: book provided in return for an honest review.

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