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The Emperor of All Maladies is the kind of book that could only be written by a passionate expert. Luckily, we have Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist and writer who has penned a stunning 'biography' of one of the world's worst afflictions. This volume spans the history of cancer and includes stories of Mukherjee's patients, and it is in these chapters that the author's devotion and compassion shines clearest. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this moving and important book should be widely read.
November 2010 Indie Next List
“The struggle against cancer eventually touches the lives of every person on this planet. In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddharta Mukherjee displays remarkable skill in blending a definitive history of this disease with a compelling narrative. The book is informative, moving, and provocative, and teaches us a powerful lesson about humanity. We live in the face of inevitable uncertainty, but the knowledge in these pages makes us stronger and more compassionate beings.”
— Geoffrey B. Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS
Summer 2012 Reading Group
“For anyone whose life has been touched by cancer -- probably all of us -- this is a fantastic introduction to not only what cancer is, but also its history, cultural significance, and the legacy of our battles to overcome it. Mukherjee's treatment of this epic subject is multifaceted and told with energy, eloquence, and a deep sense of the human stories behind the medicine.”
— Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, this New York Times bestseller is “an extraordinary achievement” (The New Yorker)—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.
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 is the author of The Gene: An Intimate History, a #1 New York Times bestseller; The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction; and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an associate professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in many journals, including Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com.
“Mukherjee brings an impressive balance of empathy and dispassion to this instantly essential piece of medical journalism.” —Time
“A meticulously researched, panoramic history . . . What makes Mukherjee’s narrative so remarkable is that he imbues decades of painstaking laboratory investigation with the suspense of a mystery novel and urgency of a thriller. . . . He possesses a striking gift for carving some of science’s most abstruse concepts into forms as easily understood and reconfigured as a child’s wooden blocks.” —The Boston Globe
“Riveting and powerful . . . Mukherjee’s extraordinary book might stimulate a wider discussion of how to wisely allocate our precious health care resources.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable . . . The reader devours this fascinating book . . . Mukherjee is a clear and determined writer. . . . An unusually humble, insightful book.” —Los Angeles Times
“Extraordinary . . . So often physician writers attempt the delicacy of using their patients as a mirror to their own humanity. Mukherjee does the opposite. His book is not built to show us the good doctor struggling with tough decisions, but ourselves.” —John Freeman, NPR
“Now and then a writer comes along who helps us fathom both the intricacies of a scientific specialty and its human meaning. Lewis Thomas, Sherwin Nuland, and Oliver Sacks come to mind. Add to their company Siddhartha Mukherjee.” —Elle
“Rich and engrossing . . . With the perceptiveness and patience of a true scientist, [Mukherjee] begins to weave these individual threads into a coherent and engrossing narrative.” —The Economist
“A brilliant, riveting history of the disease . . . Threaded throughout, and propelling the narrative forward, are the affecting tales of Mukherjee’s own patients.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Ambitious . . . Mukherjee has a storyteller’s flair and a gift for translating complex medical concepts into simple language.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Cancer has never been as fully explored as in Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s fascinating and moving history.” —The Daily Beast
“With epic scope and passionate pen, The Emperor of All Maladies boldly addresses, then breaks down the monolith of disease.” —The Onion A.V. Club
“Informative, elegant, comprehensive, and lucid.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Mukherjee’s elegant prose animates the science.” —Bloomberg News
“Brilliant and riveting.” —Associated Press
“[A] brilliant book.” —Larry King
“A magnificent book.” —Sanjay Gupta, M.D., CNN
“An ambitious scientific, political, and cultural history.” —Slate.com
“Intensely readable.” —New York Post
“Impressive.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Mukherjee . . . writes with supreme authority.” — The Seattle Times
“Mukherjee makes us understand that along with our terrible losses, great gains have been made.” —Newsday
“Eminently readable . . . A surprisingly accessible and encouraging narrative.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A beautifully written account of the ingenuity, hubris, courage, and utter confusion humankind has brought to its attempts to grapple with cancer.” —Maclean’s
“Future biographers and historians of the disease will labor from deep with the long shadow cast by Siddhartha Mukherjee’s remarkable The Emperor of All Maladies. . . . A vivid and profoundly engaging read.” —BookPage
“Sweeping . . . Mukherjee’s formidable intelligence and compassion produce a stunning account.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies left me shaken, fascinated, and not depressed, because he gives a face to our old enemy, cancer.” —Emma Donoghue, author of Room
“Sid Mukherjee’s book is a pleasure to read, if that is the right word. . . . His book is the clearest account I have read on this subject. With The Emperor of All Maladies, he joins that small fraternity of practicing doctors who cannot just talk about their profession but write about it.” —Tony Judt, author of The Memory Chalet
“Rarely have the science and poetry of illness been so elegantly braided together as they are in this erudite, engrossing, kind book.” —Andrew Solomon, National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon
“At once learned and skeptical, unsentimental and humane, The Emperor of All Maladies is that rarest of things—a noble book.” —David Rieff, author of Swimming in a Sea of Death
“A magisterial, wise, and deeply human piece of writing.” —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and Bury the Chains
“The Emperor of All Maladies beautifully describes the nature of cancer from a patient’s perspective and how basic research has opened the door to understanding this disease.” —Bert Vogelstein, director, Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins University
“A labor of love . . . as comprehensive as possible.” —George Canellos, M.D., William Rosenberg Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
“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.” —Donald Berry, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas