The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Scribner | August 9, 2011 | Trade Paperback

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 5.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.5 in

Published: August 9, 2011

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439170916

ISBN - 13: 9781439170915

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Reviews

Rated out of 5 by from Amazing book!!!! Not only does he discuss the patients point of view as well as the doctor treating them, he also touches apon the genetic structure of genes that may have led to translocation of chromosomes (he explains what translocation is) that in turn lead to cancer. I have never recomended a book as much as i have this one! No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Date published: 2013-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Everyone Should Read This! For such a depressing but all important topic as cancer, this book was a fantastic read. Smooth writing about the toughest disease to overcome in layperson terms from the history of the disease to the most current treatments. Mr. Mukherjee emphasizes that uncontrolled cell division (cancer) is a challenge to cure but that continued human progress in research and clinical trials will lead us to a better medical future. I was pleasantly surprised on how absorving this book was - now I know why it won the Pultizer Prize.
Date published: 2011-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous and easy to understand history of cancer The Good Stuff * I won't lie, when I opened up the mail and saw this my first thought was WTF - pulizter prize winner, hello this is not my thing. I am not an overly intelligent women and well quite frankly was thinking dullsville. Well, I was very, very wrong! * This is brilliantly written and relatively easy to understand -- even for me * I was so fascinated and learned so much I actually found it difficult to put down * Medical information is in depth, interesting and written in more layman terms - which very much surprising * Incredibly well researched & some fantastic notes and detailed index (yes I know its geeky but I am an anal Library Technician * Fascinating to see the denial through history of the connection between tobacco and cancer -- especially from educated medical personal * Horrified and disgusted at times of all the research done on unsuspecting patients, even knowing the benefits it had in the medical field * Actually teared up a couple of times which very much surprised me * The author has a very honest, sensitive and personal manner which is a rarity in a Dr (Trust me I have spent my whole life surrounded by those in the medical profession) * The writing is almost lyrical which again surprised me * Cancer really does suck a** & hopefully one day we will kick its a** The Not so Good Stuff * At times it jumps from time frame to time frame which was a little disconcerting * Some noticeable repetition - better editing would have made it a tighter piece of writing Favorite Quotes/Passages "As a doctor learning to tend cancer patients, I had only a partial glimpse of this confinement. But even skirting its periphery, I could still feel its power-the dense, insistent gravitational tug that pulls everything and everyone into the orbit of cancer." "When Wynder presented his preliminary ideas at a conference on lung biology in Memphis, not a singles question or comment came from the members of the audience, most of whom had apparently slept through the talk or cared too little about the topic to be roused. IN contrast, the presentation that followed Wynder's, on an obscure disease called pulmonary adenomatosis in sheep, generated a lively, half hour debate." "Germaine fought cancer obsessively, cannily, desperately, fiercely, madly, brilliantly, and zealously - as if channeling all the fierce, inventive energy of generations of men and women who had fought cancer in the past and would fight it in the future." Who should/shouldn't read * Anyone who has been affected in any way by Cancer * All medical professional dealing with Cancer * So yeah, its pretty much required reading for everyone over the age of 16 (Terminology and subject matter might be hard to deal with by those younger than 16) 4.5 Dewey's I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2011-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Emperor of all Maladies “The Emperor of all Maladies a Biography of Cancer” by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a well put together book. It is organized and well thought out. It starts at the beginning of recorded history of cancer and ends with our present day knowledge of cancer. The book covers how humans have treated cancer from the beginning to the present. The book terrified me in some parts; reading how they treated breast cancer, performing mastectomies without anesthetic and how crippled the women would be after the procedure if they survived. “The Emperor of all Maladies” is a frightening reminder of how little we do know about cancer. One thing I have learned over the years is that knowledge and how we apply our knowledge is always changing. What we believe is true today will most likely be false tomorrow and this applies to the medical field and from reading this book you will see how it applies to cancer. Cancer is part of our society and as our population ages it well become an even greater part of who we are...with the majority of us living a long life...the majority of us well encounter some form of cancer. What is the best way to beat cancer? More money, it really is that simple...with the money available to the many intelligent individuals out there willing to do research, I truly believe we could have better survival rates and less toxic, less side effect ridden medications. Will we ever beat cancer? I doubt it, but we sure could treat it in a more patient friendly way. I have always had a love for the field of genetics and this book feeds that passion. The book is informative and interesting and involving...it contains enough science to teach the reader about what is the cause of cancer and how can we treat it. I always love a book that teaches me new things and this one succeeds on many levels.
Date published: 2011-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A silver lining perhaps... It must have been difficult to write the history of a disease that has decimated so many families and created such fear and anxiety. Mukherjee manages to do this with great ability, giving us the critical information whilst not bogging us down with too many details. The book has a few dry spots but, overall, for a science history, it is quite intriguing. I certainly learned a lot about cancer while reading this and I was surprised to find how brutal the treatments were up to very recently. Mukherjee also gives us a little more hope at the very end with his chapter on gene therapy. A great read for those interested in medical science or for those who want to know more about cancer specifically. The book is very approachable and you can easily navigate its terms and concepts with a minimum of science background.
Date published: 2011-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This man can write! There are times his writing has a poetical character to it. How cancer and poetry can be in the same sentence is hard to imagine but it is something Mukherjee achieves.
Date published: 2011-01-20

– More About This Product –

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.5 in

Published: August 9, 2011

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439170916

ISBN - 13: 9781439170915

Read from the Book

The Emperor of all Maladies Prologue Diseases desperate grown By desperate appliance are relieved, Or not at all. — William Shakespeare, Hamlet 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. “Not just any headache,” she would recall later, “but a sort of numbness in my head. The kind of numbness that instantly tells you that something is terribly wrong.” Something had been terribly wrong for nearly a month. Late in April, Carla had discovered a few bruises on her back. They had suddenly appeared one morning, like strange stigmata, then grown and vanished over the next month, leaving large map-shaped marks on her back. Almost indiscernibly, her gums had begun to turn white. By early May, Carla, a vivacious, energetic woman accustomed to spending hours in the classroom chasing down five- and six-year-olds, could barely walk up a flight of stairs. Some mornings, exhausted and unable to stand up, she crawled down the hallways of her house on all fours to get from one room to another. She slept fitfully for twelv
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From the Publisher

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 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.

About the Author

Siddhartha Mukherjee was born in 1970 in New Delhi, India. He received an undergraduate degree in biology from Stanford University, a DPhil in immunology from Magdalen College, Oxford University, and a M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He is known for his work on the formation of blood, and the interactions between the micro-environment and cancer cells. His book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center. His articles have appeared in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic.

Editorial Reviews

“This volume should earn Mukherjee a rightful place alongside Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Stephen Hawking in the pantheon of our epoch''s great explicators.”—Boston Globe
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