The Emperor Of All Maladies

The Emperor Of All Maladies

A Biography Of Cancer

Book - 2010
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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
Characteristics: xiv, 571 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.


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May 25, 2020

Author did a phenomenal job regarding topic research, showed great personal interest and expertise. It was an eye opening learning experience and highly disturbing read for me, personally. Wouldn’t suggest to read it during COVID-19 at all!

Jan 17, 2019

Interesting "biography" that attracted by a lot of highbrow ,but sometimes flawed characters (scientists), amoral character (tobacco executives), corporate (greedy to indifferent) to the victims themselves seeking mythical magic bullet.
Engrossing book on disease that more slippery & resilient or on doctor & patients forced to redefine what is victory conditions.

When I pick up a book that won a Pulitzer, I expected to read good writing. Having said that, I was somewhat apprehensive at the thought of reading a treatise on cancer. No such need. As author Siddhartha Mukherjee promises, he has treated cancer not as a thing (a disease) but as a person – hence the subtitle. That you want to keep turning pages until you get to the end is a testament to the effective treatment Mukherjee affords this serious and painful subject. It is obvious that he is an expert in his field, a good writer, and – above all – a wonderful “explainer.” (submitted by library customer MA)

May 31, 2017

Read this 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for General Non-Fiction more than two years ago but both comments and quotes were gone. Agree with most reviews that this book is a definitive read on cancer history and current research when it was published in 2010. Goodreads has posted many pages, 8 and counting, of quotes worthwhile to look up for reference:

Nov 17, 2016


Jun 24, 2016

This book is fascinating. It's extremely well researched and written.

Apr 07, 2015

I found this book fascinating, but when I watched the documentary I was chilled by how little mention of cancer prevention there was. Could I suggest a prescription for the author and Ken Burns? Read T. Colin Campbell's 'The China Study' if we know that the Standard American Diet (SAD) causes disease, why isn't advertizing for processed foods banned the way smoking ads are? A great opportunity to advocate for longer, healthier lives through healthy diet and exercise was missed here.

Aug 31, 2014

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

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.

jeanner222 Oct 12, 2012

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?”

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May 31, 2017

My old quotes had disappeared but noticed that goodreads already has 8 full pages of quotes:

In addition, had collected some quotes from Ken Burn's 2015 documentary program "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies" which was based on this book. If interested:

Dec 31, 2016



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Jul 15, 2016

A really, really long book about the history of cancer. It's well written and interesting BUT VERY INTENSE. I would really like this book if I could read a couple of chapters, put it down and then read a couple more chapters in a month. It's got very specialized vocab that I don't always understand, but even so, I really know much more about cancer than I ever thought I could learn.

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