Additional Praise for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“Extraordinary” The New Yorker (full review online here)

“No one can say exactly where Henrietta Lacks is buried: during the many years Rebecca Skloot spent working on this book, even Lacks’s hometown of Clover, Virginia, disappeared. But that did not stop Skloot in her quest to exhume, and resurrect, the story of her heroine and her family. What this important, invigorating book lays bare is how easily science can do wrong, especially to the poor. The issues evoked here are giant: who owns our bodies, the use and misuse of medical authority, the unhealed wounds of slavery … and Skloot, with clarity and compassion, helps us take the long view. This is exactly the sort of story that books were made to tell—thorough, detailed, quietly passionate, and full of revelation.” Ted Conover, author of Newjack and The Routes of Man

“It’s extremely rare when a reporter’s passion finds its match in a story. Rarer still when the people in that story courageously join that reporter in the search for what we most need to know about ourselves. When this occurs with a moral journalist who is also a true writer, a human being with a heart capable of holding all of life’s damage and joy, the stars have aligned. This is an extraordinary gift of a book, beautiful and devastating—a work of outstanding literary reportage. Read it! It’s the best you will find in many many years.” Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family

“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 BOOKLIST, Starred Review (click here for full review)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a fascinating read and a ringing success. It is a well-written, carefully-researched, complex saga of medical research, bioethics, and race in America. Above all it is a human story of redemption for a family, torn by loss, and for a writer with a vision that would not let go.” Boston Globe (read full review here)

A Masterful work of nonfiction … a real page turner … I read it in one night.” –HANNA ROSIN, Slate (listen to Slate’s critics book club discussion

“A work of both heart and mind, driven by the author’s passion for the story, which is as endlessly renewable as HeLa cells.” Los Angeles Times Faces to Watch in 2010 feature

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brings to mind the work of Philip K. Dick and Edgar Allan Poe. But this tale is true. Rebecca Skloot explores the racism and greed, the idealism and faith in science that helped to save thousands of lives but nearly destroyed a family. This is an extraordinary book, haunting and beautifully told.” Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

“Skloot’s book is wonderful–deeply felt, gracefully written, sharply reported.” Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief

Rebecca Skloot has written a marvelous book so original that it defies easy description. She traces the surreal journey that a tiny patch of cells belonging to Henrietta Lacks’s body took to the forefront of science. At the same time, she tells the story of Lacks and her family—wrestling the storms of the late twentieth century in America—with rich detail, wit, and humanity. The more we read, the more we realize that these are not two separate stories, but one tapestry. It’s part The Wire, part The Lives of the Cell, and all fascinating.”Carl Zimmer, author of Microcosm

This is a science biography like the world has never seen. What if one of the great American women of modern science and medicine–whose contribution underlay historic discoveries in genetics, the treatment and prevention of disease, reproduction, and the unraveling of the human genome–was a self-effacing African-American tobacco farmer from the Deep South? A devoted mother of five who was escorted briskly to the Jim Crow section of Johns Hopkins for her cancer treatments? What if the untold millions of scientists, doctors, and patients enriched and healed by her gift never, to this day, knew her name? What if her contribution was made without her knowledge or permission? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Henrietta Lacks. Chances are, at the level of your DNA, your inoculations, your physical health and microscopic well-being, you’ve already been introduced.”Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock and There Is No Me Without You

“If virtues could be cultured like cells, Rebecca Skloot’s would be a fine place to start⎯a rare combination of compassion, courage, wisdom, and intelligence. This book is extraordinary. As a writer and a human being, Skloot stands way, way out there ahead of the pack.” Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Bonk

For more praise of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks visit the Press Coverage page of this site, and the site’s News page.

Named by more than 60 critics as one of the best books of 2010

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The Henrietta Lacks Foundation

The Henrietta Lacks Foundation strives to provide financial assistance to needy individuals who have made important contributions to scientific research without their knowledge or consent.