The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Paperback

By (author) Rebecca Skloot

List price $21.98

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  • Publisher: MACMILLAN
  • Format: Paperback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 33mm | 521g
  • Publication date: 16 April 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0230750214
  • ISBN 13: 9780230750210
  • Illustrations note: 8 colour plates (pages)
  • Sales rank: 28,954

Product description

In 1951, a young woman from Baltimore died of cancer. Her death changed medical science for ever. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer whose cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first 'immortal' human tissue grown in culture, HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta herself remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey in search of Henrietta's story, from the 'coloured' ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live, and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Full of warmth and questing intelligence, astonishing in scope and impossible to put down, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

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Author information

REBECCA SKLOOT is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in the New York Times Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine, among others. She has worked as a correspondent for NPR's RadioLab and PBS's Nova ScienceNOW, and blogs about science, life, and writing at Culture Dish, hosted by Seed magazine. She also teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Memphis. Visit her website at rebeccaskloot.com.

Review quote

"'One of the most graceful and moving non-fiction books I've read in a very long time' Dwight Garner, New York Times 'Skloot's book is wonderful - deeply felt, gracefully written, sharply reported. It is a story about science but, much more, about life.' Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief"