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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of…

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

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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3,2261542,552 (4.29)1 / 298

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English (151)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This is a page-turner. About the history, sociology, treatment and impact of cancer. If that sounds impossible to do, read the book. If it sounds interesting, read the book. I haven't read a more profound, well-researched or engaging non-fiction work in ages.

I'll leave it to other reviewers to give you more details, but I cannot recommend this one strongly enough. You'll be more empathetic and far better informed on the ongoing war on cancer. ( )
  patl | Feb 18, 2019 |
engulfing history of cancer throughout the ages, errors and breakthroughs ( )
  Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
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. ( )
  ffifield | Nov 6, 2018 |
Amazing. A very tough subject, Mukherjee covers research for both cancer’s origins and its treatment. You’d think it would be a synergistic effort, but the history of cancer is full of fights, personality conflicts, larger than life egos, drive, dissapointment, grief and pain. Many decades have passed when doctors so singlemindedly focused on a cure that they dramatically cut or poisoned their patients, with a treatmeant meant to kill the cancer just before it killed the patient.

The biological cause of cancer was only discovered in the nineties, and even so, what we know is a general outline only. A series of mutations, each adding another ability to the cancer cell (growing, self-feeding, immortality, mobility, etc) is necessary for a cancer to develop, and each cancer is unique, with a unique combination of activated or deactivated genes and mutated genes. Targeted treatment has been developed for a few variants, but we still have a long way to go.

Mukherjee is an excellent writer. While much of the material is either harrowing or technically detailed, he manages to turn it all into an exciting page-turner, a story with turns and twists. I especially loved hus ability to bring both patients, doctors and researchers to life. Everyone had personality, anecdotal stories, and he himself brings a chock full of emotion to the story, taking one of his patients, Carla, through the story of her treatment, the stages of hope, despair, and remission.

I have listened on audio. Narrator Stephen Hoye was excellent. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
A masterpiece of science literature. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (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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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
To Robert Sandler (1945-1948), and to those who came before and after him.
First words
Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved
Or not at all.

—William Shakespeare,

Cancer begins and ends with people. In the midst of
scientific abstraction, it is sometimes possible to forget
this one basic fact. . . . Doctors treat diseases, but they also
treat people, and this precondition of their professional
existence sometimes pulls them in two directions at once.

—June Goodfield

On the morning of May 19, 2004, Carla Reed, a thirty-year-old kindergarten teacher from Ipswich, Massachusetts, 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.
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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