The book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African American 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, 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 book explores 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.
The 1204th greatest book of all time
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This book is on the following lists:
- 63rd on The 100 best books of the 21st century (The Guardian)
- 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime (Amazon.com (USA))
- 48 Good Books (University of Buffalo)
- Boston Public Library: Top Fiction and Non-Fiction Books of the 2010s (Boston Public Library)