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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Skloot, Rebecca

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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, 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. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family 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--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Paperbacks, c2011.
Edition: 1st pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9781400052189
1400052181
Characteristics: xiv, 381 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,25 cm.

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Oct 30, 2014
  • kelvinb200 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book which touches on so many topics including: ethics, equality, fairness, segregation, genetics then and now, patient rights and benevolence, socioeconomics, sciences, HeLa cells...so much more!! Worthwhile reading. I had never heard of this lady until I stumbled upon this book and when I opened the cover, I just couldn't stop reading it!!

Oct 17, 2014
  • PimaLib_SarahB rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an amazing read! And it makes a great book for a book club discussion because there are numerous issues explored.

Jul 30, 2014
  • FedoraJoesph rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

it wasn't too bad not really my type of book but otherwise i enjoyed it

Our book club read this as our June read and I found it quite informative

Jun 29, 2014
  • PBrierley_96 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was a page turner that I could not put down. Rebecca Skloot is a gifted writer who brings this woman back to life and honours her memory with a lively and meticulously detailed story of Henrietta's life, the lives of her children and the innumerable scientific benefits derived from Henrietta's cells.

The people behind the story are fascinating. The science is fascinating. The history is fascinating and the icky sticky ethical issues surrounding this kind of research is fascinating. I cannot recommend this book enough. This is an important story and everyone needs to read this book!

Jun 20, 2014
  • odettewright rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A wonderful book, intriguing, touching, provocative. Highly recommended.

May 09, 2014
  • modestgoddess rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Really enjoyed this. Very readably written account of Henrietta Lacks and HeLa, the cells taken from her body that just keep growing and growing and fuelling science research all over the world.... Skloot takes the reader into the personal stories around the cells, as well as touching on all the cells have done to advance medical science. It's amazing. Make sure someone you know reads it when you do, so you have someone to talk with about it - you'll want to!

Very interesting story about this womans life and death and her families fight for compensation from the scientific community.

Apr 25, 2014
  • smasciola84 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

An amazing true story that blends aspects of science, health care, racial struggles, ethics, poverty, and family dynamics.

The science intrigued me. The family made my heart ache.

Read it for a book club. Some loved it, some hated it.

Mar 08, 2014
  • ehbooklover rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An eye opening, enlightening, and often heartbreaking read that raises many important questions about scientific research, ethics, race, and class. Unfortunately, the first half of the book was a great deal more interesting than the second half and this unevenness kept me from really loving it.

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Oct 30, 2014
  • kelvinb200 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 KJV It seems to me that describes Henrietta in the living on of her giving life through the HeLa cells.

Oct 30, 2014
  • kelvinb200 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I speak not for myself but for those without voice... those who have fought for their rights... their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.
Malala Yousafzai

Jul 08, 2013
  • BookWormChelly rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“But I tell you one thing, I don't want to be immortal if it mean living forever, cause then everybody else just die and get old in front of you while you stay the same, and that's just sad.”

Apr 03, 2013
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” -George Washington

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Feb 24, 2011
  • Algonquin_Lisa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A black woman's self-perpetuating cancer cells live past her own shortened life, providing doctors and scientists with an unparalleled opportunity to do nearly unlimited research. Her family, however, was unaware her cells were ever collected. In this book author Rebecca Skloot takes them on a journey to learn the extent to which their mother's cells changed the face of cancer research forever. Fascinating, and possibly the best work of nonfiction I've ever read.

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