The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

CD - unabridged
Audio (10 discs)
Product Number: DD28073
Released: Nov 10, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780451486318
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Description

Now a major motion picture from HBO starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, 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. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons-as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia-a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo-to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family-past and present-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. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family-especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, 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(s): Rebecca Skloot
Awards:2013-New York Times Bestseller

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Product Number: BX00061969
Product Number:Z100010551
Product Number:DD28073

All formats/editions

eAudio
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Author(s): Rebecca Skloot
Product Number Z100010551
Released: Feb 02, 2010
Business Term: Purchase
Publisher: Books on Tape
ISBN: #9780307712530
eBook
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Author(s): Rebecca Skloot
Product Number EB00154368
Released: Dec 27, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: #9780307589385

Professional reviews

"This multifaceted story interweaves a mini-biography of Henrietta Lacks and her family with an insider's look at the history of medical research and Skloot's journey to unlock the secrets of both. Lacks was a terminal cancer patient, and the cells doctors preserved (without her knowledge or consent) led to many medical breakthroughs. Interestingly, Caucasian Cassandra Campbell admirably portrays African-American Lacks and her associates, while only the small part of Lacks's daughter is assigned to fellow African-American Bahni Turpin. The fine narration underscores the pain and frustration her family feels after Lacks' death, the purloining of her cells, and the world's failure to recognize her role. However difficult it is to acknowledge unscrupulous medical experimentation, Campbell's star quality rivets listeners to this tribute to one whose life continues to improve health care worldwide. J.J.B. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine"

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