The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
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Type: Audio Book
Format: mp3
Language: English
User Rating: 4.5556 out of 5 Stars! (9 Votes)

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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 60 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 bombs 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 Henriettas 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 20 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.


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Free The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks listen
| 4 out of 5 Stars!


Have not read the book yet - I'm finishing one and The Immortal Life will be next. I am eger to get into it. My friends can't stop talking about it.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!


I studied Human Genetics at University for 3 years and never once was Henrietta Lacks mentioned... I find this shocking and backwards following reading this book.

The advances that her cells have made in the world of genetics and science in general are massive, and I agree that as others have mentioned, this should be compulsory reading for students of science.

Aside from the scientific side of things, there is a story of a real person and her family who were morally hard done by, by scientists of the day. The book is beautifully written, engaging and one of the few books I've ever read that I literally didn't want to put down.

In summary a great book that should be read by everyone, in my opinion!

| 4 out of 5 Stars!


  Even if you're not especially engaged by science and the study of cell lines, you will be drawn into the world of Henrietta Lacks and her HeLa cells.This book personalizes early attempts at culturing cells for study and the benefit of mankind.Along the way, it deals personally with the unknowing donor, her fascinating family and racism in the days before informed consent.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!


The ten years Rebecca Skloot took to write this piece paid off.The reader is given a thorough and well-written history of medical researcher's struggles with replicating cells and the amazing success that ensued with using Henrietta Lack's cancerous cells.But not only does the reader follow this trail, but another well researched and thoroughly readable thread about Henrietta Lack's family is given - and her family is fascinating.The book also provides insight into John Hopkins Hospital in it's early years as well as the doctors who were treating Henrietta and studying her cells.It was a tad slow at first, but really really interesting as it got going.

| 4 out of 5 Stars!


I'm enjoying this book tremendously but would have enjoyed it a lot more if the publisher had included the pictures in the Kindle version.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!


I really enjoyed this book and it was written in an easy-to-understand language, particularly when she is writing about scientific topics.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!


I am very much an avid reader. I was never really a fan of non-fiction books. To me, they never seem to hold anything eye-catching. Anything dealing with science, forget it. It couldn't hold me attention for five minutes. Science was never my strongest subject in school. I guess because, it was a little too deep for me to understand. Reading the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks made me change my thinking towards non-fiction and science. While reading the book, I learned things I never knew. I could hardly put the book down. Whenever I got a chance, I had that book in front of my face. I finished it in a week. This book made my feel excited, sadden, nervous, fearful, upset, and shocked. All those feelings multiplied, when I reminded my self over and over again that all of this was true. I have never felt that way reading any book. I have nothing but respect for Rebecca Skloot, who spent a decade of her life, preparing to tell the entire world, a story we should have know long before now. This book definitly earned its' spot in the top books to read of 2010. My heart goes out the the Lacks family, I can only hope that the release of the book has healed the wounds they have endured now that everyone knows the story of Henrietta Lacks. Many people owe their lives to Henrietta Lacks, I hope she knows that. Please, everyone readers and non-readers, take some time and read this book, everyone needs to know Henrietta Lacks. Who knows, she maybe the reason you're alive today.

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