The incredible true story of the poor black tobacco farmer (a granddaughter of slaves) who became one of the most important persons in the world. In 1...more
The incredible true story of the poor black tobacco farmer (a granddaughter of slaves) who became one of the most important persons in the world. In 1951, 31-year-old Henrietta, a wife and mother of 5, visited Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore because she was convinced she had cervical cancer. She was initially rebuffed by the doctors but won them over by her persistent visits and complaints of pain. When it was discovered she did indeed have a rapidly growing vicious strain of cancer, doctors operated but not before they removed some tissue samples without Henrietta’s knowledge.
Henrietta died shortly afterward and she was buried in an unmarked grave, but her cells defied decades of prior science research – they multiplied like crazy. Word of the HeLa cells, as they are widely known, spread across the world and researchers raced to buy their own HeLa cells from Johns Hopkins. As scientists used HeLa in countless ways – they helped Jonas Salk develop the polio vaccine, they were used in the first cloning projects, they were used to create and manufacture countless drugs in the treatment of cancer, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, STDs, thyroid; they went up in the first space missions for scientists to observe the effects of weightlessness on human cells, etc -- all without the family’s knowledge until the 1970s when a doctor contacted one of the adult children requesting more tissue samples.
The family has struggled ever since with the knowledge that their mother’s cells are still alive and are used today in thousands of labs around the world. Multiple millions of dollars have been made from the sale of Henrietta’s cells, but her children can’t even afford health insurance.
Read this amazing book that reads like a fast-paced novel with its themes of scientific research, the lack of privacy for patients and their families in the 1950s, racism, and the still growing HeLa cells, and how one poor woman’s unknown contribution to science changed the world. (less)
The men who occupy the White House are an elite group. No one, including their wives, understands the pressures and pitfalls of the job better than th...moreThe men who occupy the White House are an elite group. No one, including their wives, understands the pressures and pitfalls of the job better than their predecessors. The authors did an excellent job of drawing back the curtain and letting us peek inside the curious relationships that develop between the current president and those who served before. Bitter political enemies become lifelong friends as a result of their shared experiences in the Oval Office. My biggest complaint with the book was the liberal slant to it, but the authors were mostly fair with conservative presidents. The Presidents Club actually started with Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman and continues today. Loved the anecdotal stories about the Bush family nearly adopting Bill Clinton as their "brother from another mother". The old saying is true: Politics makes strange bedfellows.(less)
Finding the thin blue line between good deed-ism and living for Christ is what Steve Brown is so good at explaining. I always feel more cheerful after...moreFinding the thin blue line between good deed-ism and living for Christ is what Steve Brown is so good at explaining. I always feel more cheerful after reading anything by him.(less)
I want to be careful. I have friends and family on both sides of the political spectrum and it's not my desire to alienate any of them. That being sai...moreI want to be careful. I have friends and family on both sides of the political spectrum and it's not my desire to alienate any of them. That being said, I just finished reading The Amateur by Ed Klein (NY Times reporter). Based on hundreds of interviews with Obama insiders, friends, and foes, the Obama presidency is an unmitigated disaster. It wasn't Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity who labeled him as an amateur. That harsh rhetoric is Bill Clinton's summation of BHO. Clinton says that Obama's unwillingness to listen to anyone other than Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emmanuel has been his undoing. Obama remains aloof, detached, and uninterested in old-style back-slapping politicking. His inability or lack of desire in building friendships in Congress has left even his cronies in the Democratic Black Caucus scratching their heads and wondering who this guy is. Complaints abound from all corners -- Chicago's uber-rich black businessmen who funded his early introduction to politics (and now say they won't give him a dime), the Kennedy family (once major supporters but no more), the infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who admits to being paid off to shut up during the 2008 campaign), Oprah Winfrey whose very public endorsement and adulation of Obama led to her TV show's demise (and who now can't even get a phone call returned from the White House), the Jewish community who continue to be outraged by Obama's treatment of Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel, etc. etc. How could a man who managed to defeat the Clinton machine and grab the reins of power of the Democratic Party be in such a mess today? Mr. Klein says it's very simple: arrogance and narcissism which Obama possesses in abundance. While a little gossipy, the book was fascinating in its depiction of Michelle and Barack as the ultimate power couple using their friends until they couldn't squeeze anything else out of them. If you like politics, I recommend this. (less)
There are some books that give pause and you stop and think, "Hmmmm...". Then there are books like Suffering and the Sovereignty of God that bring you...moreThere are some books that give pause and you stop and think, "Hmmmm...". Then there are books like Suffering and the Sovereignty of God that bring your thinking up short when it comes to the whole issue of why we suffer, why God allows it, why so much agony and pain. There are no pat answers in this book. The people who explain the various aspects of suffering in the presence of a sovereign God do so without being flippant, coy, or above it all. These are people who have been hammered on the anvil of sorrow yet remain convinced -- absolutely convinced -- of the goodness and love God sheds on us in our most extreme moments of pain. This is a book I will read time and time again.(less)