patswee2006, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by patswee2006)
Dr. Mukherjee has filled a noticeable & frustrating gap in the cancer literature, which, except for a few books like Susan Love's book on breast cancer, seems to encompass two poles: popularly written "think positive" pep talks, and indecipherable (to the layperson)medical literature. Reading this book, I realized, for instance, why leukemia's over-production of white cells does not assist (as white cells usually do) the body's fight against infection--because these are immature white cells incapable of therapeutic function. Dr. M. also strikes a good balance between optimism about what cancer researchers may come up w/ in the future, in the way of new therapeutic & preventive drugs, and a warning about the thus-far intractable nature of cancer (its power of mutation). As a survivor now undergoing chemotherapy for the third time, I have no illusions about my ability to "get over" cancer, but I do appreciate the dedication of my doctors & all the researchers over the years whose struggles are so clearly & patiently chronicled by Dr. Mukherjee. He is that rare combination--a compassionate physician, a careful researcher, and a good writer.
irwink, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by irwink)
An important original take on "the Big C." Of course this is not an easily approachable topic, but once in you're left with a manageable perspective on mortality.
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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.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.