The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Format:  Hardcover,

619 pages

Edition: Large Print

Publisher: Thorndike Pr

Publish Date: Jul 2010

ISBN-13: 9781410427922

ISBN-10: 1410427927

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.


Publisher: Thorndike Pr
Publish Date: Jul 2010
ISBN-13: 9781410427922
ISBN-10: 1410427927
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 619
Large Print: Yes
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.55
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.75 x 9.0 x 1.25

Chapter outline

A Few words about this Bookp. 11
Prologue: The Woman in the Photographp. 17
Deborah's Voicep. 29
Lifep. 31
The Exam … 1951p. 33
Clover … 1920-1942p. 41
Diagnosis and Treatment … 1951p. 57
The Birth of HeLa … 1951p. 69
Blackness Be Spreadin All Inside … 1951p. 82
Lady's on the Phone … 1999p. 94
The Death and Life of Cell Culture … 1951p. 105
A Miserable Specimen … 1951p. 116
Turner Station … 1999p. 123
The Other Side of the Tracks … 1999p. 139
The Devil of Pain Itself 1951p. 149
Deathp. 155
The Storm … 1951p. 157
The HeLa Factory … 1951-1953p. 164
Helen Lane … 1953-1954p. 185
Too Young to Remember 1951-1965p. 192
Spending Eternity in the Same Place … 1999p. 205
Illegal, Immoral, and Deplorable … 1954-1966p. 220
Strangest Hybrid … 1960 1966p. 236
The Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Now … 1966-1973p. 247
The HeLa Bomb … 1966p. 260
Night Doctors … 2000p. 269
The Fame She So Richly Deserves … 1970-1973p. 289
Immortalityp. 301
It's Alive … 1973-1974p. 303
Least They Can Do … 1975p. 322
Who Told You You Could Sell My Spleen? … 1976-1988p. 335
Breach of Privacy … 1980-1985p. 348
The Secret of Immortality … 1984-1995p. 357
After London … 1996-1999p. 367
A Village of Henriettas … 2000p. 391
Zakariyya … 2000p. 405
Hela, Goddess of Death … 2000-2001p. 420
All That's My Mother … 2001p. 435
The Hospital for the Negro Insane … 2001p. 450
The Medical Records … 2001p. 469
Soul Cleansing … 2001p. 480
Heavenly Bodies … 2001p. 494
Nothing to Be Scared About … 2001p. 499
The Long Road to Clover … 2009p. 512
Where They Are Nowp. 521
Afterwordp. 527
Acknowledgmentsp. 553
Notesp. 571


Review by Library Journal (2009-12-01)

This distinctive work skillfully puts a human face on the bio ethical questions surrounding the HeLa cell line. Henrietta Lacks, an African American mother of five, was undergoing treatment for cancer at Johns Hopkins University in 1951 when tissue samples were removed without her knowledge or permission and used to create HeLa, the first "immortal" cell line. HeLa has been sold around the world and used in countless medical research applications, including the development of the polio vaccine.

Science writer Skloot, who worked on this book for ten years, entwines Lacks's biography, the development of the HeLa cell line, and her own story of building a relationship with Lacks's children. Full of dialog and vivid detail, this reads like a novel, but the science behind the story is also deftly handled.

Verdict: While there are other titles on this controversy (e.g., Michael Gold's A Conspiracy of Cells: One Woman's Immortal Legacy-and the Medical Scandal It Caused), this is the most compelling account for general readers, especially those interested in questions of medical research ethics. Highly recommended.

[See Skloot's essay, p. 126; Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/09.] - Carla Lee, Univ. of Virginia Lib., Charlottesville

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, 2010 (United States)
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, 2012 - 2013 (United States)
  • Ambassador Book Awards, 2011 (United States)
  • Audie Award, 2011 (United States)
  • Library Journal Best Books of the Year, 2010 (United States)
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2010 (United States)
  • American Library Association Notable Books, 2011 (United States)
  • Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, 2010 (United States)
  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year, 2010 (United States)

Book description

Henrietta Lacks, a poor Southern tobacco farmer, was buried in an unmarked grave sixty years ago. Yet her cells - taken without her knowledge - became one of the most important tools in medical research. Known to science as HeLa, the first immortal human cells grown in culture are still alive today, and have been bought and sold by the millions. Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey from the colored ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to East Baltimore today, where Henrietta's family struggles with her legacy. Book jacket.

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