Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is (yet another) look at the history of science. This book is devastating and brutal in it's honesty about the history of the family to whom we owe a huge part of modern science: the HeLa cell line, and the Lacks family. As a scientist, I was not as outraged at some parts of this story as my husband (a non-scientist) but deeply saddened by what was once called "science" and the lack of ethics involved. It was great to get a look at the family behind HeLa, which was glossed over in my classes in college as having come from a "Helen Lane" and that was that. I hadn't realized the scope of the impact that the cell line had on science. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. There are parts that make you hate the doctors and the people who take advantage (intentionally or not) of the Lacks family, and parts that made me glad to be in my chosen profession. I definitely learned a lot about the history of ethics in research science, and how very new that role is.

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I have read 29 of my goal of 75 books for 2011.