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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Featured on The TV Book Club show on 20 Feb 2011.

Winner of the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2010.

In 1951, a young woman from Baltimore died of cancer. Her death changed medical science for ever. Her name was Henrietta Lacks. Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey in search of Henrietta's story. 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. A graceful, deeply felt book.

Synopsis

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

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.

Reviews

'A fascinating, harrowing, necessary book' - Hilary Mantel, Guardian.

'A fine book...a gripping read...The book has deservedly been a huge bestseller in the US. It should be here, too' - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times.

'A remarkable and moving book… an important work of immersive non-fiction... Long fascinated by HeLa’s contribution to science, Rebecca Skloot set out a decade ago to give a human face to the woman who made it possible. That she has achieved with verve, creating a vivid portrait of Lacks that should be as abiding as her cells' The Times

'One of the most graceful and moving non-fiction books I've read in a very long time... The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks floods over you like a narrative dam break, as if someone had managed to distil and purify the more addictive qualities of Erin Brockovich, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Andromeda Strain... Packed with memorable characters... It has brains and pacing and nerve and heart, and it is uncommonly endearing' New York Times

About the Author

Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New Yourk Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Discover, Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere. She is contributing editor for Popular Science magazine and has also been a correspondent for NPR and PBS. A former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, she is on the faculty of the University of Memphis, where she teaches creative nonfiction, and she blogs at Culture Dish, hosted by Seed Magazine's blogs, Skloot has an undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Colorado State University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Author photo © Manda Townsend

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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 2011

Author

Rebecca Skloot

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Author's Website

rebeccaskloot.com/

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Publisher

Pan Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Format

Paperback
448 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Biography: science, technology & medicine
Popular science
Medical research

ISBN

9780330533447

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