The Emperor of All Maladies

A Biography of Cancer

Mukherjee, Siddhartha

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Emperor of All Maladies
A magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it.

Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2010
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439107959
Branch Call Number: 616.994 M9538e 2010
Characteristics: xiv, 571 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

I read this a few years ago and loved it then. Picked it up recently and I love it still. About to be a Ken Burns documentary, and you want to read the book first, don't you? Yes, you do. (Tama's pick)

A magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it.

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Aug 31, 2014
  • jvb rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I have cancer and found the book caring and thoughtful. Lots of information about how we are lucky to be past the worst of the beginning, and now in the very beginning of rational treatment. I found that it read like a novel. Great book.

Dec 29, 2012
  • spacecat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

As a History of Science book, it is quite thorough, interesting, and well written. As a cell and molecular biologist I was fascinated by some of the metaphor used to explain, for example, signal transduction pathways to a lay audience. Science writing of high calibre, as the Pulitzer prize would suggest.
I think a person going through cancer treatment could educate themselves in the field quite thoroughly, if they had the courage to read this. There has been much progress in treatment in the last twenty years. Some of the earlier cancer treatments are described as reckless and brutal by the author, who is an oncologist himself.

Oct 12, 2012
  • jeanner222 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The subtitle of this massive tome says it all: a biography of cancer. Mukerjee’s research begins with early cases of cancer and doctors and researchers trying to figure out what cancer is. The volume ends with information about cancer drugs and the latest discoveries in cancer research.

Cancer, as a disease, is baffling. Mukerjee guides the reader through years of research and discovery. Highlights include: the discovery of the link between smoking and lung cancer, the origin of Pap smears, and the breakthrough idea of prevention/origin of mammography. The author takes the reader through the evolution of radiation, chemo, and cancer surgery. Above all things, Mukerjee clearly explains the long and difficult struggle to understand and cure this deadly disease.

I enjoyed reading this, though it took me a long time. I could only read so much in one sitting, especially when the writing is quite scientific. This is an excellent read for anyone who has ever wondered, “When will they find a cure for cancer?”

Sep 13, 2012
  • axeman rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a very informative book about the history of cancer that is fascinating and insightful. This is not a dry clinical book. It includes many case studies that add a human touch to this excellent book.

Jul 03, 2012
  • ganymede__ rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fantastic in-depth look into cancer, showing the similarities and differences between seemingly disparate ailments. The in-depth knowledge brought on by the author, a medical doctor, was very helpful in understanding the science behind it all.

Jun 07, 2012
  • julianarae rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was truly amazing. I admit, it was strange to read a type of biography of cancer, where a disease is personified as a powerful, nearly sentient being. The author seemed to portray more awe of cancer than disgust. His passion for oncology was contagious.

Feb 19, 2012
  • chico230 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An excellent read. I thought it might have been a dry read, but Mukherjee keeps the audience captivated with side stories and interresting facts and trivia.

Dec 23, 2011
  • NASIVELI SARYGULOVA rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

trully a great detailed biography of cancer indeed. I learned so much about it.

Sep 26, 2011
  • ANNE E CROLY rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is an easily understandable of a confusing illness that is even more valuable now (Sept, '11) with the advent of new drugs to treat cance.

Sep 26, 2011

Perfect combination of science and literature. An enlightening "story" of devotion, struggle, and intellect of doctors to cure cancer. A fantastic read for both the scientific and non-scientific. A true jem of the 21th century.

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