The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Nov 16, 2010 - History - 592 pages
86 Reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
52
4 stars
28
3 stars
5
2 stars
1
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ffifield - www.librarything.com

This is the history of cancer, from its first mention in ancient Egyptian texts to today. It includes the history of how we understood it and how we treated it to what we know about it now and how it's treated. It is the most spectacular book about cancer that I can imagine could be written. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - infjsarah - www.librarything.com

It took me a very long time to get through this book. It was interesting but it was a long slog. I don't think Dr Mukherjee is a particularly good writer of history. Once we got to the genetics ... Read full review

Contents

An Impatient War
105
Will you turn me out if I cant get better?
191
Prevention Is the Cure
235
A Distorted Version of Our Normal Selves
335
The Fruits of Long Endeavors
393
Atossas War
461
Glossary
533
An Interview with Siddhartha Mukherjee
573
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com

Bibliographic information