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    Killers of the Flower
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    The Immortal Life of

    1. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
    by David Grann
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Doubleday Books
    Publisher: Doubleday
    ISBN: 0385534248
    Sales Rank: 44
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    "Disturbing and riveting...Grann has proved himself a master of spinning delicious, many-layered mysteries that also happen to be true...It will sear your soul." Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

    From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history

    In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
          Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
          In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. 
          In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

    Amazon.com Review

    An Amazon Best Book of April 2017: In the 1920s, the Osage found themselves in a unique position among Native Americans tribes. As other tribal lands were parceled out in an effort by the government to encourage dissolution and assimilation of both lands and culture, the Osage negotiated to maintain the mineral rights for their corner of Oklahoma, creating a kind of “underground reservation.” It proved a savvy move; soon countless oil rigs punctured the dusty landscape, making the Osage very rich. And that’s when they started dying.

    You’d think the Osage Indian Reservation murders would have been a bigger story, one as familiar as the Lindbergh kidnapping or Bonnie and Clyde. It has everything, but at scale: Execution-style shootings, poisonings, and exploding houses drove the body count to over two dozen, while private eyes and undercover operatives scoured the territory for clues. Even as legendary and infamous oil barons vied for the most lucrative leases, J. Edgar Hoover’s investigation – which he would leverage to enhance both the prestige and power of his fledgling FBI - began to overtake even the town’s most respected leaders.

    Exhuming the massive amount of detail is no mean feat, and it’s even harder to make it entertaining. But journalist David Grann knows what he’s doing. With the same obsessive attention to fact - in service to storytelling - as The Lost City of Z, Killers of the Flower Moon reads like narrative-nonfiction as written by James M. Cain (there are, after all, insurance policies involved): smart, taut, and pacey. Most sobering, though, is how the tale is at once unsurprising and unbelievable, full of the arrogance, audacity, and inhumanity that continues to reverberate through today’s headlines. --Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

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    2. Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
    by Mark Bowden
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Doubleday Books
    Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
    ISBN: 0802127002
    Sales Rank: 94
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    New York Times Bestseller

    “An extraordinary feat of journalism . . . full of emotion and color.”―Karl Marlantes, Wall Street Journal

    The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam.

    In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

    With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.

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    3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
    by Yuval Noah Harari
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Harari, Yuval Noah
    Publisher: Harper
    ISBN: 0062316095
    Sales Rank: 134
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    New York Times Bestseller

    A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

    From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

    One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

    Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

    Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

    Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

    Amazon.com Review

    An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Yuval Noah Harari has some questions. Among the biggest: How did Homo sapiens (or Homo sapiens sapiens , if you’re feeling especially wise today) evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet, emerging as the lone survivor out of six distinct, competing hominid species? He also has some answers, and they’re not what you’d expect. Tackling evolutionary concepts from a historian’s perspective, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, describes human development through a framework of three not-necessarily-orthodox “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. His ideas are interesting and often amusing: Why have humans managed to build astonishingly large populations when other primate groups top out at 150 individuals? Because our talent for gossip allows us to build networks in societies too large for personal relationships between everyone, and our universally accepted “imagined realities”--such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations—keep us in line. Who cultivated whom, humans or wheat?. Wheat. Though the concepts are unusual and sometimes heavy (as is the book, literally) Harari’s deft prose and wry, subversive humor make quick work of material prone to academic tedium. He’s written a book of popular nonfiction (it was a bestseller overseas, no doubt in part because his conclusions draw controversy) landing somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of genetics, sociology, and history. Throughout, Harari returns frequently to another question: Does all this progress make us happier, our lives easier? The answer might disappoint you. --Jon Foro

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    • Harper

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    4. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
    by Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: St Martin s Press
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    ISBN: 1250067057
    Sales Rank: 147
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    The #1 New York Times bestseller

    Sent to the most violent battlefield in Iraq, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s SEAL task unit faced a seemingly impossible mission: help U.S. forces secure Ramadi, a city deemed “all but lost.” In gripping firsthand accounts of heroism, tragic loss, and hard-won victories in SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, they learned that leadership―at every level―is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails.Willink and Babin returned home from deployment and instituted SEAL leadership training that helped forge the next generation of SEAL leaders. After departing the SEAL Teams, they launched Echelon Front, a company that teaches these same leadership principles to businesses and organizations. From promising startups to Fortune 500 companies, Babin and Willink have helped scores of clients across a broad range of industries build their own high-performance teams and dominate their battlefields.

    Now, detailing the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply them to any team, family or organization. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic such as Cover and Move, Decentralized Command, and Leading Up the Chain, explaining what they are, why they are important, and how to implement them in any leadership environment.

    A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership revolutionizes business management and challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.

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    5. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
    by Timothy Snyder
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    Category: Paperback Brand: TIM DUGGAN
    Publisher: Tim Duggan Books
    ISBN: 0804190119
    Sales Rank: 79
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    #1 New York Times Bestseller

    The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century. We are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism.  Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.

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    6. Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom
    by Thomas E. Ricks
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: PENGUIN PRESS
    Publisher: Penguin Press
    ISBN: 1594206139
    Sales Rank: 593
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    New York Times Bestseller

    A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.

    Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930's—Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West's compass set toward freedom as its due north.

    It's not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930's, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism, but saw in Hitler and Mussolini "men we could do business with," if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign, but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom—that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted.

    In the end, Churchill and Orwell proved their age's necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940's to triumph over freedom's enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell's reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course, and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks's masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin.

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    7. Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War
    by David Fisher
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Henry Holt and Co.
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    ISBN: 1250109841
    Sales Rank: 391
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    The newest installment in the New York Times #1 bestselling companion series to the Fox historical docudrama, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies; The Civil War is a pulse-quickening account of the deadliest war in American history

    From the birth of the Republican Party to the Confederacy’s first convention, the Underground Railroad to the Emancipation Proclamation, the Battle of Gettysburg to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends and Lies: The Civil War reveals the amazing and often little known stories behind the battle lines of America’s bloodiest war and debunks the myths that surround its greatest figures, including Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, Frederick Douglass, Stonewall Jackson, John Singleton Mosby, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, John Wilkes Booth, William Tecumseh Sherman, and more. An epic struggle between the past and future, the Civil War sought to fulfill the promise that “all men are created equal.” It freed an enslaved race, decimated a generation of young men, ushered in a new era of brutality in war, and created modern America. Featuring archival images, eyewitness accounts, and beautiful artwork that further brings the history to life, The Civil War is the action-packed and ultimate follow-up to the #1 bestsellers The Patriots and The Real West.

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    • Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Civil War

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    8. Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government
    by Mike Lee
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Henry Holt and Co.
    Publisher: Sentinel
    ISBN: 0399564454
    Sales Rank: 428
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    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Some of America’s most important founders have been erased from our history books. In the fight to restore the true meaning of the Constitution, their stories must be told.
    In the earliest days of our nation, a handful of unsung heroes—including women, slaves, and an Iroquois chief—made crucial contributions to our republic. They pioneered the ideas that led to the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, and the abolition of slavery. Yet, their faces haven’t been printed on our currency or carved into any cliffs. Instead, they were marginalized, silenced, or forgotten—sometimes by an accident of history, sometimes by design.
    In the thick of the debates over the Constitution, some founders warned about the dangers of giving too much power to the central government. Though they did not win every battle, these anti-Federalists and their allies managed to insert a system of checks and balances to protect the people from an intrusive federal government. Other forgotten figures were not politicians themselves, but by their thoughts and actions influenced America’s story. Yet successive generations have forgotten their message, leading to the creation of a vast federal bureaucracy that our founders would not recognize and did not want.

    Senator Mike Lee, one of the most consistent and impassioned opponents of an abusive federal government, tells the story of liberty’s forgotten heroes. In these pages, you’ll learn the true stories of founders such as...

    • Aaron Burr who is depicted in the popular musical Hamilton and in history books as a villain, but in reality was a far more complicated figure who fought the abuse of executive power.

    • Mercy Otis Warren, one of the most prominent female writers in the Revolution and a protégé of John Adams, who engaged in vigorous debates against the encroachment of federal power and ultimately broke with Adams over her fears of the Constitution.

    • Canasatego, an Iroquois chief whose words taught Benjamin Franklin the basic principles behind the separation of powers.

    The popular movement that swept Republicans into power in 2010 and 2016 was led by Americans who rediscovered the majesty of the Constitution and knew the stories of Hamilton, Madison, and Washington. But we should also know the names of the contrarians who argued against them and who have been written out of history. If we knew of the heroic fights of these lost founders, we’d never have ended up with a government too big, too powerful, and too unresponsive to its citizens. The good news is that it’s not too late to rememberand to return to our first principles. Restoring the memory of these lost individuals will strike a crippling blow against big government.

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    9. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
    by Sebastian Junger
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    Category: Hardcover Brand: Twelve
    Publisher: Twelve
    ISBN: 1455566381
    Sales Rank: 121
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    Now a New York Times bestseller

    We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding--"tribes." This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

    Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

    Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today's divided world.

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    10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    by Rebecca Skloot
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    Category: Paperback Brand: Skloot, Rebecca
    Publisher: Broadway Books
    ISBN: 1400052181
    Sales Rank: 119
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    Now an HBO® Film starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne


    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, 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. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller 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.

    Amazon.com Review

    Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? --Tom Nissley

    Amazon Exclusive: Jad Abumrad Reviews The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    Jad Abumrad is host and creator of the public radio hit Radiolab, now in its seventh season and reaching over a million people monthly. Radiolab combines cutting-edge production with a philosophical approach to big ideas in science and beyond, and an inventive method of storytelling. Abumrad has won numerous awards, including a National Headliner Award in Radio and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science Journalism Award. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

    Honestly, I can't imagine a better tale.

    A detective story that's at once mythically large and painfully intimate.

    Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her--taken without her knowledge or consent--live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things). All of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one's mind right out of one's face.

    But what's truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot's book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How she did die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them? These are crucial questions, because science should never forget the people who gave it life. And so, what unfolds is not only a reporting tour de force but also a very entertaining account of Henrietta, her ancestors, her cells and the scientists who grew them.

    The book ultimately channels its journey of discovery though Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.

    As Deborah Lacks and Skloot search for answers, we're bounced effortlessly from the tiny tobacco-farming Virginia hamlet of Henrietta's childhood to modern-day Baltimore, where Henrietta's family remains. Along the way, a series of unforgettable juxtapositions: cell culturing bumps into faith healings, cutting edge medicine collides with the dark truth that Henrietta's family can't afford the health insurance to care for diseases their mother's cells have helped to cure.

    Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. --Jad Abumrad

    Look Inside The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

    Click on thumbnails for larger images

    Henrietta and David Lacks, circa 1945.
    Elsie Lacks, Henrietta’s older daughter, about five years before she was committed to Crownsville State Hospital, with a diagnosis of “idiocy.”
    Deborah Lacks at about age four.
    The home-house where Henrietta was raised, a four-room log cabin in Clover, Virginia, that once served as slave quarters. (1999)
    Main Street in downtown Clover, Virginia, where Henrietta was raised, circa 1930s.

    Margaret Gey and Minnie, a lab technician, in the Gey lab at Hopkins, circa 1951.
    Deborah with her children, LaTonya and Alfred, and her second husband, James Pullum, in the mid-1980s.
    In 2001, Deborah developed a severe case of hives after learning upsetting new information about her mother and sister.
    Deborah and her cousin Gary Lacks standing in front of drying tobacco, 2001.
    The Lacks family in 2009.

    ... Read more


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