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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of…
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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (2010)

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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2,1471063,035 (4.31)1 / 197
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English (103)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
When reading this book, I get this strong feeling of the author often going sideways, distracted by every new name and continue on to meander and babble about irrelevant people & facts. And for what? My guess, to appear more learned and foist the book as better researched when it really is just a hodgepodge of facts(?) about cancer, presented rather slovenly. ( )
  StanleyPhang | Jul 18, 2015 |
This history of cancer and of cancer treatments fascinated me. Mukherjee traces the successes and failures of "cancer cures" and explains why a treatment that might produce near-miraculous remission in one person may be useless to another person with the same type of cancer. He answered all of the questions I brought to the book and wrote with compassion for cancer sufferers and their families and with a git for explaining history, medical science, and the politics of cancer. ( )
  nmele | Jun 15, 2015 |
What an amazing education this book is. I find it important to at least have a rudimentary understanding of this scourge of humanity. It's vital. We all know someone affected one way or another, and the knowledge contained here allows for an understanding and deeper empathy. I was a little lost on a lot of the mechanics, but Mukherjee shines because he doesn't point the spotlight on himself (as opposed to Atul Gawande, though this is not a failing in any way), rather he sticks to the biography with verve and clarity. You get the crisp feeling that the material isn't researched, but rather, part of the author's corpus. He's truly qualified to speak about cancer and his expertise is admirable. Great book. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
“The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Dr. Siddartha Mukerjee is magisterial in scope and yet accessible to the interested lay reader. He reaches back as early as Persian Queen Attosa (550 to 475 BC) who famously suffered from breast cancer and had a slave perform a gruesome form of mastectomy. From there, we make our way through the centuries as different theories – Black humors! Contagion! Radical surgery! -- are examined. The book is the inspiration of a 6 hour ‘Ken Burns Presents’ PBS documentary which will be showing soon.

The Dana Farber Cancer Institute is featured prominently. We learn the identity of the renowned ‘Jimmy’ of Jimmy Fund fame. I have worked in some fundraisers for the Dana Farber and the Jimmy Fund. A good friend is a longtime volunteer. Even without these specific connections, I would have been drawn to this wonderful book. In one way or another, all of us have a connection to cancer, those afflicted and/or those who treat it. Thus this book is sure to hold the interest of many. It certainly kept me engaged throughout. ( )
  michigantrumpet | Mar 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
It's time to welcome a new star in the constellation of great doctor-writers. With this fat, enthralling, juicy, scholarly, wonderfully written history of cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee - a cancer physician and researcher at Columbia University - vaults into that exalted company ...
 
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Epigraph
Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell. to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place. --Susan Sontag
Dedication
To Robert Sandler (1945-1948), and to those who came before and after him.
First words
(Prologue) On the morning of May 19, 2004, Carla Reed, a thirty-year-old kindergarten teacher from Ipswich, Massachusets, a mother of three young children, woke up in bed with a headache.
In a damp fourteen-by-twenty-foot laboratory in Boston on a December morning in 1947, a man named Sidney Farber waited impatiently for the arrival of a parcel from New York.
Quotations
In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practice it much.- Sherlock Holmes, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet
Physicians of the utmost fame Were called at once; but when they came They answered, as they took their Fees, "There is no Cure for this Disease." - Hilaire Belloc
Its palliation is a daily task, its cure a fervent hope. - William Castle, describing leukemia in 1950
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A magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it.

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