- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (29 Sept. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007250924
- ISBN-13: 978-0007250929
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.9 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Paperback – 29 Sep 2011
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‘Mukherjee calls this great and beautiful book a biography, rather than a history, because he wants his reader to understand his subject not just as a disease, a scientific problem or a social condition, but as a character – an antagonist with a story to tell. His intensely vivid and precise descriptions of biological processes accumulate into a character, fully developed and eerily familiar. The notion of "popular science" doesn't come close to describing this achievement. It is literature.’ Observer
‘This is a riveting book…profound, eloquent and searching’ John Carey, Sunday Times
‘”The Emperor of All Maladies” is the book that many will have been waiting for. This elegantly written overview allows us to look a once whispered-about illness squarely in the eye.’ Independent
‘So beautifully written; this is literature, not popular science. “The Emperor of Maladies” empowers us, makes it clear that we really do know this enemy, and so brings us another step closer to victory.’ Evening Standard
‘Mukherjee never condescends, yet he manages to write lucidly and tellingly about complex experimental, technological and theoretical matters’ Will Self, New Statesman
About the Author
Siddhartha Mukherjee M.D., Ph.D., is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and from Harvard Medical School and was a Fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and an attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, The New York Times, and The New Republic.
He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mukherjee starts off the book on familiar ground: a woman being asked to return to the hospital as soon as possible, because something has shown up in the tests she underwent. This something is leukemia, a liquid cancer, and it catapults us back in time: to 1847, when the term leukemia was coined.
The first chapter is dedicated to the earliest known cases of cancer. We consider cancer a "modern" illness (and it is, because only in the last two centuries have we started to grow old enough for cancer to become the second most common cause of death) but there are some freakishly ancient occurrences. Atossa (550 > 475 BC), queen of Persia, had her breast cut off - a breast cancer that even made an army change direction. (I'm not going to explain this: it's one of the mesmerizing anecdotes you have to read for yourself.) And then there's the Peruvian mummy with a thousand year old preserved cancer. `It is hard to look at the [mummy] tumor and not come away with the feeling that one has encountered a powerful monster in its infancy', Mukherjee observes.Read more ›
I think almost everyone I know has lost someone near and dear to them to cancer. I have; my brother died at only eighteen from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. If anything, the fact that we've all been touched by this horrible illness in its many incarnations makes a book like The Emperor of All Maladies an even more important read. Reading this book was always going to be difficult, but it is on a subject I wanted to understand. After it won the Pulitzer Prize, and unending praise from many of my favorite bloggers, I simply had to read it, no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter.
I'm really glad I made that choice, because this book was excellent in so many ways. Mukherjee skilfully weaves together his own years treating cancer patients, ensuring that we get an up close and personal view of what it's like to fight cancer today, with a thorough history of the illness, including its ancient manifestations, early treatments, and continuing right up to the medicines and techniques used to treat various kinds of cancer today. I learned so much from this book, certainly things I never even thought about, like how the War on Cancer got started in the first place, what the Jimmy Fund is, and so on.Read more ›
The subject itself is fascinating with such topics as how discoveries of scrotal cancer among boy chimney sweeps in the 19th Century have led to the cause of lung cancer being convincingly stated in the 1950's and the adverse reaction this would have on the powerful tobacco industry. Everyone has probably heard of a "Pap-smear" but who knows where the word "Pap" originated? The book describes the work of George Papanicolaou, over many decades in developing the smear technique but only realised in 1950 that it could not detect cancer - but could find its precursor so allowing cervical cancer to be treated in a preventative manner before the disease took hold. There are far too many highlights to mention in this brief review.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This should be part of all medical colleges curricula. It is a masterpiece. I only came across it in a Times book review for his second book! Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Spell-binding. I couldn't put this book down. The story leads you into ancient worlds, medieval clinics, political campaigns, chemotherapy wards, cancer labs into the future of... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Amanda Reid
A fascinating exploration of the treatment of cancer, but also an in depth look at societies response to this diseasePublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
genuinely one of the best books I've come across, I'm not much of reader so i've only gotten half way through in 4 months but yeah nice to see some actual science in a book. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fascinating and informative. An interesting tale of how research and chance have lead to modern ways of treating cancer.Published 3 months ago by B. Nichols
This is an amazing book. Both in terms of it's scope and the style of writing. Very well written. Considering the complexity of the subject matter it keeps a good momentum. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dmitri Tkatchev
A literate and comprehensive biography of cancer. Knowledge is power and this is a powerful work, reassuring the reader with a detailed historiography and informing us of future... Read morePublished 3 months ago by frisbee
THE definitive book on the history of cancer research and treatment. Very readable - aimed at both novice as well as a more advanced audience - if only all science books were this... Read morePublished 4 months ago by RTK
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