The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Format:  Paperback,

618 pages

Publisher: Christian Large Print

Publish Date: May 2011

ISBN-13: 9781594134326

ISBN-10: 1594134324

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
Henrietta Lacks a poor Southern tobacco farmer was buried in an unmarked grave sixty years ago. Yet her cells -- taken without her knowledge grown in culture and bought and sold by the billions -- became one of the most important tools in medical research. 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.


Publisher: Christian Large Print
Publish Date: May 2011
ISBN-13: 9781594134326
ISBN-10: 1594134324
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 618
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.3
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.25
Walmart No.: 9781594134326


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

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

Customer Product Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5★ by 1reviewer.
Rated 5 out of 5★ by Great story about the life of Henrietta Lacks I first read this book a year ago and loved it. Henrietta Lacks lived just blocks away from where my Grandmother lived and I knew she would enjoy the book as much as I did if not more. I was happy to find the large print edition on for a very good price. It shipped very quickly and was a great birthday gift for my Grandmother. 12/26/2013
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