Henrietta Lacks was an unwitting donor of cells from her cancerous tumor, which formed the first human cell line used for medical research. In the photo, she stands with a determined yet friendly expression on her face, hands on her hips, as if she's ready to face the future, no matter what it might bring. The best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which features the striking image of Lacks on its cover, tells the story of this African-American woman, her family, and her fast-growing cells, used in over 70,000 medical studies. The latest development in the story: Earlier this year, scientists sequenced Henrietta Lacks's genome and made it public, without asking the family's permission. When you wrote the book, could you ever have imagined this latest turn of events: a medical institution inviting the Lacks family to join them in future deliberations? In my wildest dreams, what I hoped would happen [is that the book would] lead to a big national discussion that would result in scientists and the Lacks family being in the room together talking and making some kinds of decisions about policy. In the 1970s, when scientists went back to her children to do research on them-a€”that's the moment I think race played a significant role. Discussion questions created by NC State for incoming students for their 2011 Common Reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Discussion questions created by UW-Madison for incoming students for their 2010-2011 Common Book Program of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
This strategy guide explains Socratic seminars and offers practical methods for applying the approach in your classroom to help students investigate multiple perspectives in a text. Process drama is a specific form of drama particularly suited to engaging students deeply in whatever subject is being taught. Readers are usually drawn into contemporary nonfiction for one of two reasons: they are already interested in the subject matter, or they trust an author to introduce them to a subject matter so totally foreign that it becomes interesting by virtue of its strangeness. The book follows two principle story lines—one the biography of Henrietta Lacks, a virtually unknown, uneducated woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951; the other a scientific account of her still-living cells. It is a rich world to explore, and Skloot, like Susan Orlean among the orchid fanatics before her, proves an ideal guide. The adventure eventually draws Skloot to Deborah Lacks, a surviving child of Henrietta who is at first understandably distant and distrustful: her mother essentially spawned a major medical industry without knowledge, consent, or compensation.
The cast of characters on both the scientific and biographical sides of the story is rich and complex, the plot twists often surprising.


In November, Publisher's Weekly ran a cover story with Skloot's photo and the headline, "The Making of a Bestseller 2010." The article described the book's tortuous ten-year route to publication, shuffled among two publishers and four editors, and was accompanied by Skloot's first-person account of her self-organized book tour.
Today, as Skloot notes in an afterword, human cells are routinely taken for research purposes, without the knowledge or consent of the people they are taken from. At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City.
Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it—women who are now in their eighties and nineties — The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity.
A rare Enigma machine, the proto-computer used by the Nazis to send codes during World War II, just sold at auction for $233,000 to an unnamed buyer. Boing Boing uses cookies and analytics trackers, and is supported by advertising, merchandise sales and affiliate links.
Also for them there are some pretty real implications and concerns about questions of privacy. The scientists grew up in an era of segregation, of not having to ever explain things to black people. While designed for high school students, the chapter by chapter discussion questions provide an excellent resource for UNIV 100 classes.
The following tools can be used singly to make a lesson plan more meaningful or in various combinations to form a complete process drama exploration. Some of the best works of creative nonfiction—including Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, or anything by John McPhee—follow this second course, illuminating surprising new worlds that most readers had never imagined. Commonly known in biology circles as HeLa, these cells and the research they allow have directly affected much of the human race, including most people reading this review.
For a nonfiction book on an esoteric subject to rise to the level of greatness, the author must become obsessed with the topic, with an enthusiasm that infects the reader.
A helpful device in the design of the book is a timeline that runs atop each chapter header, stretching from the 1920s to the 2000s, with an arrow indicating when each chapter's particular piece of the Henrietta Lacks puzzle will unravel.
She admits that when people first hear about her book, their eyes tend to glaze over—a "great, a book about cells. Virtually anyone who has given a tissue sample for a lab test has contributed a portion of themselves that resides in storage somewhere, with the potential to become as immortal as Henrietta Lacks.


Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Of course, the Enigma code was cracked by Alan Turing and the other cypherpunks at Bletchley Park.
But now the National Institutes of Health has taken the important step of inviting two of Lacks's descendants to be part of the HeLa Genome Data Access working group, which considers applications to use the genome. Such is the path of Memphis-based science writer Rebecca Skloot in her first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
The most engrossing nonfiction narratives inevitably become autobiography, revealing as much about the author as about the author’s obscure subject. As with all good tales involving twin plots, the storylines ultimately converge, on May 25, 2001, when Skloot takes Deborah Lacks and her brother Zakariyya to Johns Hopkins, past the statue of Jesus where Henrietta had paused before receiving her diagnosis, to meet her mother's living cells for the first time. The scientific, ethical, and commercial questions this practice raises have yet to be answered, a fact that may change as a result of the moving story Skloot so masterfully tells in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Thousands of civilians — many of them young women from small towns across the South — were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history. Anderson has written more than 125 books, including 52 national or international bestsellers. For decades not even the children of Henrietta Lacks knew their mother lived on in thousands of labs around the world, and in medicines and treatments that have saved countless lives. Skloot, who teaches writing at the University of Memphis, explains in her prologue that she was drawn to this story at the age of sixteen, when, as a high school student on the verge of dropping out, she took a community-college biology class taught by a professor who emphasized the medical importance of the HeLa cell line, and who was one of the rare academics who actually knew the cells came from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. He is a research director at Institute for the Future and editor-in-chief of Cool Tools and co-founder of Wink Books.



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