The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Nieśmiertelne życie Henrietty Lacks
Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in "The New York Times Magazine"; "O, The Oprah Magazine"; "Discover", and others. She has worked as a correspondent for NPR's Radiolab and PBS's NOVA scienceNOW, and is a contributing editor at "Popular Science" magazine and guest editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011. She is a former Vice President of the National Book Critics Circle and has taught creative nonfiction and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University. Her debut book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, took more than ten years to research and write, and became an instant "New York Times" bestseller. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning and The Colbert Report. Her book has received widespread critical acclaim, with reviews appearing in "The New Yorker", "Washington Post", "Science", "Entertainment Weekly", "People", and many others. It won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and was named The Best Book of 2010 by Amazon.com. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is being translated into more than twenty languages, and adapted into a young adult book, and an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Skloot lives in Chicago but regularly abandons city life to write in the hills of West Virginia, where she tends to find stray animals and bring them home. She travels extensively to speak about her book.
In 1951, a young woman from Baltimore died of cancer. Her death changed medical science for ever. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer whose cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became one of the most important tools in medicine. 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. Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey in search of Henrietta's story, from the ‘coloured’ ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live, and struggle with the legacy of her cells. 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.