The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells-taken without her knowledge-became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first \"immortal\" human cells grown in culture, they
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Important Made in USA Origin Disclaimer: For certain items sold by Walmart on Walmart.com, the displayed country of origin information may not be accurate or consistent with manufacturer information. For updated, accurate country of origin data, it is recommended that you rely on product packaging or manufacturer information.
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells-taken without her knowledge-became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons-as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia-a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo-to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family-past and present-is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became en

About this item

Important Made in USA Origin Disclaimer: For certain items sold by Walmart on Walmart.com, the displayed country of origin information may not be accurate or consistent with manufacturer information. For updated, accurate country of origin data, it is recommended that you rely on product packaging or manufacturer information.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells-taken without her knowledge-became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons-as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia-a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo-to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family-past and present-is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became en

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Feb 2010
ISBN-13: 9781400052172
ISBN-10: 1400052173
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 369
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.4
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.5 x 10.0 x 1.5
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Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews | 10 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

5.0 stars

10 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

5.0 stars

10 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

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Sad; but informative
3/15/2010

Customer review by swtthbp1

5.0 stars 3/15/2010 by swtthbp1
by swtthbp1

This was a sad and poignant example of the exploitation of not only the Afro American race; but just the general public. I as an individual am very interested in our nation's hx --what the ones before us have suffered on our behalf. It just makes me that much grateful for the ones who came before to make our lives more comfortable. I am still so heartbroken for the way this incident affected several generations of the Lackses and is still a huge black stain on their legacy, lives, and well-being. This book will tug at the VERY conscious of anyone who takes the time to read it. I can not or will not forget Ms. Lacks and her family. I was so moved by it that I am planning to donate to the education fund established in the name of the Lackses younger descendants so that their Mother / Grandmother will not be forgotten and so that they can become all they have dreamed of and so much more. They will forever be in my prayers.

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swtthbp1
Mesquite, TX
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:45 - 54
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every few days
10/27/2010

Customer review by readerlsl

4.0 stars 10/27/2010 by readerlsl
by readerlsl

This is a fasinating book that I should wait until I have finished to read, but I'll review it for the half that I have read. It is extremely written weaving the information on clinical research with a family story making it a double edge sword and well written on both sides.

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readerlsl
Lake Saint Louis,MO
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Ownership:1 week or less
Gender:Female
Extraordinary human story
7/6/2010

Customer review by urbanfan2003

4.0 stars 7/6/2010 by urbanfan2003
by urbanfan2003

Our book club wanted to tackle this book, but we were waiting for the price to come down or for the paperback version. I finally found it at a good price on Walmart.com, so I bought it. I couldn't wait to read the story. The whole idea is extraordinary - that cells could duplicate so rapidly and survive to the extent that we are talking about billions and billions of cells. I just kept thinking what a giant that tiny woman is now. My heart goes out to Henrietta's family. It took a bit to wrap my head around all the science involved, but I don't think it is necessary to understand all of the science to get the importance of Mrs. Lacks. I think Henrietta belongs not only in every science book, but also in every history book.

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urbanfan2003
Dallas, TX
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:35 - 44
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every day
informative and entertaining
8/28/2010

Customer review by apianonana

5.0 stars 8/28/2010 by apianonana
by apianonana

I had already purchased this book at our local museum and literally could not put it down. It reads like a novel but it also is very informative about what has gone on in the medical research field and is still going on today. It touches on some issues that went on before equal rights too. I find a lot of people do not remember or know about these things but they did happen. I remember some of them. This book does not sugar coat any of these things. I bought my first copy on a Saturday and finished it by Tuesday. I bought two copies from Walmart to give as gifts.

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apianonana
Scottsburg, Va.
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:55 - 64
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:A few times per year
Well written
11/17/2010

Customer review by LoisLegacy

5.0 stars 11/17/2010 by LoisLegacy
by LoisLegacy

I am still reading this book but find it easy to read, well written, flows well. Until this book I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks but am so grateful to her for her contribution to the world - great non-fiction book and the price was better at Walmart.com than anywhere else.

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LoisLegacy
Missouri
Would recommend to a friend? Yes
Age:45 - 54
Ownership:2 - 7 weeks
Gender:Female
Usage:Every day
1-5 of 8 total reviews See all
1-5 of 8 reviews

Customer Reviews | 10 reviews | 4.8 out of 5

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