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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [Kindle Edition]

Rebecca Skloot
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 17.99
Kindle Price: CDN$ 11.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: CDN$ 6.00 (33%)
Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
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Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover CDN $23.99  
Paperback, Large Print CDN $12.98  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged CDN $41.58  

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Product Description


"'One of the most graceful and moving non-fiction books I've read in a very long time' Dwight Garner, New York Times 'Skloot's book is wonderful - deeply felt, gracefully written, sharply reported. It is a story about science but, much more, about life.' Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief"

Product Description


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7300 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (Jan. 28 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400052181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400052189
  • ASIN: B00338QENI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars never look at HeLa cells the same way again Nov. 16 2010
I'm a scientist and have used HeLa cells for many years, with only a vague idea of where they had come from. This terrific book brings a human side to the early days of cell culture and also a fascinating insight into some more modern problems (cell-line contamination) as well as to historical ones (racism and institutionalization), both of which we hope are going away... The book is well-written and obviously a labor of love for both its author and Ms. Lacks's relatives. Thank you for writing this! I'll recommend it to everyone I know.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio is best medium for this book... Jan. 10 2011
Format:Audio CD
Any review by wife or myself of this book in the print version would be high - it is an exceptional book in its content. The manner in which it has been researched and then dialogued is just short of brilliant. However, to listen to "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" in our car while driving is a special occasion indeed.

Unlike a novel, there is no need to remember the characters, the plot line and the passage. We, the listeners are being treated to a verbal exposé of illuminating, amazing, albeit shameful scientific facts behind a medical methodology that has aided and provided benefit for millions of people in the need of medical solutions and aid.

The author insinuates herself into the book in a playful but purposeful manner which lends immediate personality to the facts as if a story is being told; it is in fact a story - just a true one. Whenever we stop and turn the engine off to get ready to disembark from our SUV, we almost always pause and listen to a conclusion of the particular topic or thought of the author Rebecca Skloot. When we walk away, the interactions within the book leave us with plenty to talk about if others daily routines do not have the power to intercept and give priority to... In print it would be a book 'one would not want to put down', in the car it is one to take on a l-o-o-n-g journey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue biography Dec 31 2011
This is a long overdue biography of a woman who unwittingly made a tremendous contribution to medical research. In the days when ethics approval was not required for obtaining patient samples for research purposes, cervical cancer cells from Henrietta Lacks (so-called HeLa cells) were carefully excised and placed into culture media in an attempt to grow these ex vivo. The researchers of the day could not anticipate that her cells would grow vigorously, and continue to grow to this day in numerous labs around the world. At that time, the successful culturing of cells was considered a fantasy because so many cells failed to thrive in culture media, whether obtained from normal or cancerous tissues. The rapidly growing immortalized cells from Henrietta Lacks pre-empted ethical considerations for the patient and her family, since it was not expected that they would actually succeed in cell culture. Moreover, it was not possible to anticipate the enormous wealth of knowledge regarding protein and DNA structure and function that these cells provided. The events that unfolded following the exceptional ability to culture HeLa cells led to unforeseen consequences for the Lacks family as well as numerous researchers and clinicians whose careers were staked on these cells. Rebecca Skloot provides a compassionate and meticulous insight into the Lacks family and their reaction to the generation of HeLa cells. This is a must-read for anyone wishing to understand processes underlying medical ethics and how research has relied on human samples in the past century. It is also essential reading for researchers who have handled HeLa cells (including this reviewer).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I had a difficult time putting this book down; it is fascinating, thrilling, intellectually stimulating yet deeply moving as well. Thank goodness Ms. Skloot investigated and recorded the story of Henrietta Lacks; had more time passed, the information and people that assisted in this wonderful investigation into Ms. Lacks' life would have been gone, the story behind this amazing medical phenomenon, lost. It makes one wonder what other stories about interesting, important yet unsung heroes can no longer be written because of the passage of time and the death of people who knew them. I am thankful that Ms. Skloot had the interest and drive to see this investigation through, along with the Lacks family.

The book was a combination of science thriller, mystery novel, and wonderful human-interest story. There are not many times after reading a book that I've felt I've learned about something truly significant, yet I felt this way after reading The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book April 17 2011
as a physician who liked immunology the least of anything(except perhaps the anatomy of the knee) I studied in med school, this book really made me rethink my concepts. Amazing perseverance and dedication by the author to get the information needed to make this book so important--much moreso than just the biography of this truly unsung hero. In addition, it makes one question the ethics of consent, etc. Beyond just its factual historical import, the power of the author's writing was an unexpected benefit. There was scene toward the end of the book with a religious overtone that was so powerfully written, it almost had this non-theist Unitarian singing hallelujan!! Awesome read--one of the best books I have read in some time
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read
The family story is well told against the history of the cells and principles of the research community over the years. Learned lots about the scientific research community. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Plimages
4.0 out of 5 stars I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did
Purchased this Book for our local
hospice library and was pleasantly surprised. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tina Ihas
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quite enjoyed it
Published 2 months ago by DIANNE FEWSTER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A moving and informative biography. Worth the read!
Published 2 months ago by Christine Kaye
4.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful.
I enjoyed the book, very informative. It has been touted as book to remove from high school reading lists. I think that would be a mistake.
Published 2 months ago by Mbest
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
The most amazing book I have ever read! Many people are alive today because of her cells used in development of vaccines and diagnostic tests.
Published 3 months ago by Mabes Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars When my book club chose The Immortal Life of Henrietta ...
When my book club chose The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks I had no idea that I was in for such a compelling read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lanja Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This was a great read that left me with lots to think about and more questions to consider. Well done.
Published 4 months ago by Sarah smart
5.0 out of 5 stars Add to your knowledge..
Could not put it down.. excellent read and very informative..
Published 5 months ago by JJ Pattie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story and so very well researched
I love to learn. Although heartbreaking to go through the story with the family, and all the horror of learning about their mother and sister, Dale kept her positive and resilient... Read more
Published 5 months ago by cathy
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