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Editor’s Note

“A Microbial Adversary...”

Acclaimed science author Mukherjee tells the story of humanity’s most formidable adversary with the passion of a biographer in this Pulitzer Prize-winner.
Scribd Editor
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.

Topics: Cancer, Disease, Genetics, Evolution, and Politics

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9781439181713
List price: $13.99
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Interesting and informative. Excellent narration on the audiobook.more
Cancer sucks. This was such an amazing listen, but also very depressing. To know that we've been trying to "cure" cancer for hundreds of years but still aren't any closer is just devastating. Mukherjee takes you on quite a roller coaster of a trip as you follow patients (mainly Carla). There are dark moments throughout, with a few glimpses of hope, but overall...cancer just sucks. (I really hate the tobacco industry...I mean, they KNEW and STILL KNOW that their products were/are killing people, but they still market them like crazy. Evil.)more
I found this supremely well written, balanced between the smooth telling of a suspense (who-done-it?) and just enough grounding in science history to keep both strands readable.
He kept the human context alive with the patients he followed and he showed humility in the way he never presumed to be more than a learner even after he became a qualified specialist.
The best science books are those that kindle the feeling of awe at life and the universe. Here there is awe at the perseverance of many to find cures and even awe at the incredible wily supreme survivor, the disease itself.
The only reason I didn't give 5-stars was because there wasn't enough of the patients perspectives, but perhaps I'm being unfair, the subtitle is "a biography of Cancer" after all.more
I wish I could have given this 3.5 stars. It is a good book, but I don't necessarily think it is a 4-star book. Basically if you are a giant science/history nerd or have a fascination with cancer, this is a great book. As someone who is only partially interested in it, I was able to read it, but wasn't necessarily riveted by it.

This is a good, readable story all about cancer. There are enough stories about actual people that it is able to flow. However the "thrilling" quote on the front cover from O Magazine is a bit much.more
Read all 53 reviews

Reviews

Interesting and informative. Excellent narration on the audiobook.more
Cancer sucks. This was such an amazing listen, but also very depressing. To know that we've been trying to "cure" cancer for hundreds of years but still aren't any closer is just devastating. Mukherjee takes you on quite a roller coaster of a trip as you follow patients (mainly Carla). There are dark moments throughout, with a few glimpses of hope, but overall...cancer just sucks. (I really hate the tobacco industry...I mean, they KNEW and STILL KNOW that their products were/are killing people, but they still market them like crazy. Evil.)more
I found this supremely well written, balanced between the smooth telling of a suspense (who-done-it?) and just enough grounding in science history to keep both strands readable.
He kept the human context alive with the patients he followed and he showed humility in the way he never presumed to be more than a learner even after he became a qualified specialist.
The best science books are those that kindle the feeling of awe at life and the universe. Here there is awe at the perseverance of many to find cures and even awe at the incredible wily supreme survivor, the disease itself.
The only reason I didn't give 5-stars was because there wasn't enough of the patients perspectives, but perhaps I'm being unfair, the subtitle is "a biography of Cancer" after all.more
I wish I could have given this 3.5 stars. It is a good book, but I don't necessarily think it is a 4-star book. Basically if you are a giant science/history nerd or have a fascination with cancer, this is a great book. As someone who is only partially interested in it, I was able to read it, but wasn't necessarily riveted by it.

This is a good, readable story all about cancer. There are enough stories about actual people that it is able to flow. However the "thrilling" quote on the front cover from O Magazine is a bit much.more
With this one, let me get the bad over with first. It was a roller coaster ride of depressingly dull writing, soul-suckingly sad mortality, and scientifically intriguing giddiness. The good is that Mukherjee has written an adventurous, touring expose into the rhyme and reason in the research of cancer, which can be reduced to cancer cells are cool to scientists, multiple approaches and early discovery are helpful but we are still (mostly) screwed but with longer intervals.more
Very good, comprehensive history/"biography" of cancer. A bit heavy going, but good explanations and human stories break it up a bit.more
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