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The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
2011
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
NonFiction
History
Medical
Sociology
Science
Cinematization
Topics
Cancer patients
Medical research
Medical ethics
Science history
Science
African American women
African Americans
Racism
Women
Sociology
American history
Black history
Setting
Virginia - South (U.S.)
- United States
Time Period
-- 20th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Accessible science at its best, the audio version gives the story of Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, all the gravity and pathos it deserves. Narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin, who also worked together on The Help. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Science journalist Skloot makes a remarkable debut with this multilayered story about "faith, science, journalism, and grace." It is also a tale of medical wonders and medical arrogance, racism, poverty and the bond that grows, sometimes painfully, between two very different women-Skloot and Deborah Lacks-sharing an obsession to learn about Deborah's mother, Henrietta, and her magical, immortal cells. Henrietta Lacks was a 31-year-old black mother of five in Baltimore when she died of cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, doctors treating her at Johns Hopkins took tissue samples from her cervix for research. They spawned the first viable, indeed miraculously productive, cell line-known as HeLa. These cells have aided in medical discoveries from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. What Skloot so poignantly portrays is the devastating impact Henrietta's death and the eventual importance of her cells had on her husband and children. Skloot's portraits of Deborah, her father and brothers are so vibrant and immediate they recall Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family. Writing in plain, clear prose, Skloot avoids melodrama and makes no judgments. Letting people and events speak for themselves, Skloot tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society's most vulnerable people. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne<br> <br> #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER<br> <br> Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells--taken without her knowledge in 1951--became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medici≠ of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
Table of Contents
A Few Words About This Bookp. xiii
Prologue: The Woman in the Photographp. 1
Deborah's Voicep. 9
Part 1Life
1The Exam ... 1951p. 13
2Clover ... 1920-1942p. 18
3Diagnosis and Treatment ... 1951p. 27
4The Birth of HeLa ... 1951p. 34
5ôBlackness Be Spreadin All Insideö ... 1951p. 42
6ôLady's on the Phoneö ... 1999p. 49
7The Death and Life of Cell Culture ... 1951p. 56
8ôA Miserable Specimenö ... 1951p. 63
9Turner Station ... 1999p. 67
10The Other Side of the Tracks ... 1999p. 77
11ôThe Devil of Pain Itselfö ... 1951p. 83
Part 2Death
12The Storm ... 1951p. 89
13The HeLa Factory ... 1951-1953p. 93
14Helen Lane ... 1953-1954p. 105
15ôToo Young to Rememberö ... 1951-1965p. 110
16ôSpending Eternity in the Same Placeö ... 1999p. 118
17Illegal, Immoral, and Deplorable ... 1954-1966p. 127
18ôStrangest Hybridö ... 1960-1966p. 137
19ôThe Most Critical Time on This Earth Is Nowö ... 1966-1973p. 144
20The HeLa Bomb ... 1966p. 152
21Night Doctors ... 2000p. 158
22ôThe Fame She So Richly Deservesö ... 1970-1973p. 170
Part 3Immortality
23ôIt's Aliveö ... 1973-1974p. 179
24ôLeast They Can Doö ... 1975p. 191
25ôWho Told You You Could Sell My Spleen?ö ... 1976-1988p. 199
26Breach of Privacy ... 1980-1985p. 207
27The Secret of Immortality ... 1984-1995p. 212
28After London ... 1996-1999p. 218
29A Village of Henriettas ... 2000p. 232
30Zakariyya ... 2000p. 241
31Hela, Goddess of Death ... 2000-2001p. 250
32ôAll That's My Motherö ... 2001p. 259
33The Hospital for the Negro Insane ... 2001p. 268
34The Medical Records ... 2001p. 279
35Soul Cleansing ... 2001p. 286
36Heavenly Bodies ... 2001p. 294
37ôNothing to Be Scared Aboutö ... 2001p. 297
38The Long Road to Clover ... 2009p. 305
Where They Are Nowp. 311
About the Henrietta Lacks Foundationp. 314
Afterwordp. 315
Cast of Charactersp. 329
Timelinep. 333
Acknowledgmentsp. 337
Notesp. 346
Indexp. 367
Reading Group Guidep. 379
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