writermala, June 2, 2011 (view all comments by writermala)
When one picks up a Pulitzer Winning book, one is assured of good writing. Having said that it is to be expected that those of us who are laypersons will be somewhat apprehensive at the thought of reading a treatise on cancer. No need. As Mukherjee promises, he has treated cancer not as something (a disease) but as someone - hence the subtitle "A biography of cancer."
That one keeps turning pages till one gets to the end is a testament to the effective treatment Mukherjee affords this serious, painful subject.
It is obvious that Mukherjee is an expert in his field, a good writer, and above all a wonderful "explainer." When Mukherjee says, "Our encounter with cancer has rounded us off; it has smoothed and polished us like river rocks," he summarizes the feelings of his colleagues. What tugs at our heartstrings and tells us about the insidiousness of this disease is Carla's poignant comment, "I am in the hospital, even when I'm outside the hospital!"
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greengummi27, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by greengummi27)
This book is absolutely fantastic. The 500+ pages fly by-- Siddhartha Mukherjee's writing is more medical thriller than medical textbook, although the book is a carefully researched history of cancer. The story of cancer research and those that pioneered it is often horrifying, sometimes uplifting, and always fascinating. If you have even a passing interest in the medical field, pick this up immediately. And if you are incredibly interested in medicine and oncology and have not yet finished it, well, what are you waiting for??
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j a nice book, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by j a nice book)
Could not put this book down and am finding that I can't help talking about it to my friends. My husband gave it to me for Christmas and I can't wait for him to read it too. I learned so much about not just our war on cancer, but on our war against illnesses in general. Written in an erudite and moving fashion, the science was illuminating and accessible. The story of cancer's journey and our interactions with this disease through time, allowed me to reflect on the shaping of our society through this lens.
I would dare anyone to not be moved by this story.
SoCalGal, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by SoCalGal)
I loved this book. It was hard to choose this one over Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand for best of 2010. However, Dr. Mukherjee's work is an extraodinary history of cancer with just the right blend of humility, honesty and fact. I loved it. Bravo!
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Scribner Book Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Mukherjee's debut book is a sweeping epic of obsession, brilliant researchers, dramatic new treatments, euphoric success and tragic failure, and the relentless battle by scientists and patients alike against an equally relentless, wily, and elusive enemy. From the first chemotherapy developed from textile dyes to the possibilities emerging from our understanding of cancer cells, Mukherjee shapes a massive amount of history into a coherent story with a roller-coaster trajectory: the discovery of a new treatment — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy — followed by the notion that if a little is good, more must be better, ending in disfiguring radical mastectomy and multidrug chemo so toxic the treatment ended up being almost worse than the disease. The first part of the book is driven by the obsession of Sidney Farber and philanthropist Mary Lasker to find a unitary cure for all cancers. (Farber developed the first successful chemotherapy for childhood leukemia.) The last and most exciting part is driven by the race of brilliant, maverick scientists to understand how cells become cancerous. Each new discovery was small, but as Mukherjee, a Columbia professor of medicine, writes, 'Incremental advances can add up to transformative changes.' Mukherjee's formidable intelligence and compassion produce a stunning account of the effort to disrobe the 'emperor of maladies.' (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
by New Yorker,
"It's hard to think of many books for a general audience that have rendered any area of modern science and technology with such intelligence, accessibility, and compassion. The Emperor of All Maladies is an extraordinary achievement."
by O, the Oprah Magazine,
"A compulsively readable, surprisingly uplifting and vivid tale."
by Donald Berry, Ph.D., Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas,
An elegant tour de force. The Emperor of All Maladies reads like a novel but it deals with real people and real successes, as well as with the many false notions and false leads. Not only will the book bring cancer research and cancer biology to the lay public, it will help attract young researchers to a field that is at once exciting and heart wrenching ... and important."
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.
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 cut off her malignant 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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