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OneBook 2012: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: About the Book

Join the OneBook community at Bristol Community College with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Cover image of the book

Check it Out!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is available on reserve in the library at the Fall River and Attleboro campuses. Search the library catalog to find copies to borrow from other libraries in the SAILS Library Network.

Story Summary

"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, in vitro fertilization, 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."

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 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. It’s a story 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’re made of."

The book has won "several awards, including the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Excellence in Science Writing, the 2011 Audie Award for Best Non-Fiction Audiobook, and a Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award."



Trailer for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, from Rebecca Skloot's YouTube channel. 

What is OneBook?

Reading as a whole College experience – that’s what OneBook is. "Faculty, staff, and students come together across disciplines to read the same book and participate in a variety of book-related campus events. People start conversations. Connections are made." Classes examine these connections: Common threads that link the College community through this singular powerful project.

To learn more, contact Gabriela Adler, Denise DiMarzio, or Sally Gabb. Join in!

Created by:

A. Lawton; L. Richter, 10/12