The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

4.07 (648,146 ratings by Goodreads)
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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences . . .

Rebecca Skloot's fascinating account is the story of the life, and afterlife, of one woman who changed the medical world forever. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 27mm | 328g
  • Pan Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged edition
  • 0330533444
  • 9780330533447
  • 966

Review Text

A fascinating, harrowing, necessary book. Hilary Mantel Guardian
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Review quote

A fascinating, harrowing, necessary book. -- Hilary Mantel * Guardian * A heartbreaking account of racism and injustice. * Metro * A fine book . . . a gripping read . . . The book has deservedly been a huge bestseller in the US. It should be here, too. * Sunday Times *
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About Rebecca Skloot

Rebeca 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.
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Rating details

648,146 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 41% (266,838)
4 36% (230,356)
3 16% (102,339)
2 4% (28,503)
1 3% (20,110)

Our customer reviews

This book details how Henrietta Lacks (or HeLa) had a phenomenal effect on medical research. Unfortunately it was only through her death that this happened and it is sad that her family were never fully informed of what was happening or developments that her mother helped to uncover. I think this is a great story and certainly tarnishes medical research methods. Read my full review at more
by Tracy Hudson
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