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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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The Library Media Center invites you to read the BC Reads! selection: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and join college-wide conversations about its themes.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - Official Trailer


Booklist Review

The “first immortal human cells,” code-named HeLa, have flourished by the trillions in labs all around the world for more than five decades, making possible the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, and many more crucial discoveries. But where did the HeLa cells come from? Science journalist Skloot spent 10 years arduously researching the complex, tragic, and profoundly revealing story of Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African American mother of five who came to Johns Hopkins with cervical cancer in 1951, and from whom tumor samples were taken without her knowledge or that of her family. Henrietta died a cruel death and was all but forgotten, while her miraculous cells live on, “growing with mythological intensity.” Skloot travels to tiny Clover, Virginia; learns that Henrietta’s family tree embraces black and white branches; becomes close to Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah; and discovers that although the HeLa cells have improved countless lives, they have also engendered a legacy of pain, a litany of injustices, and a constellation of mysteries. Writing with a novelist’s artistry, a biologist’s expertise, and the zeal of an investigative reporter, Skloot tells a truly astonishing story of racism and poverty, science and conscience, spirituality and family driven by a galvanizing inquiry into the sanctity of the body and the very nature of the life force. — Donna Seaman, Booklist Review


The Book

Cover Art
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Call Number: RC265.6.L24S55 2011
ISBN: 1400052181
Publication Date: 2011-03-08


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