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Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Siddhartha Mukherjee

"The Emperor of All Maladies" is a magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it. Riveting and magisterial, the book provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments and offers a bold new perspective on the way the human body has been observed and understood for millennia. Photos.

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Book Information

Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Publish Date: 11/16/2010
Pages: 571
ISBN-13: 9781439107959
ISBN-10: 1439107955
Language: English

What We're Saying

April 19, 2011

Seth Godin wrote last October that, "If there's justice, [Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants] will win the Pulitzer Prize. And, while I think there remains some justice in the world regardless of the fact that it did not, we would agree that it deserved at least a nomination in the general nonfiction category (something another of our favorite books, Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain, did happily receive). But, I'm sure that the book that won the category—Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer—is not at all undeserving. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

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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.

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