Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
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 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.
About the Author
Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…an informative, well-researched study…The Emperor of All Maladies is at its most honest in describing the push-pull dynamics of scientific progress.
The New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Weiner
…Mukherjee has undertaken one of the most extraordinary stories in medicine: a history of cancer…He frames it as a biography, "an attempt to enter the mind of this immortal illness, to understand its personality, to demystify its behavior." It is an epic story that he seems compelled to tell, the way a passionate young priest might attempt a biography of Satan.
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.)
Taking a strictly Western approach to the study and treatment of cancer, clinical oncologist Mukherjee presents a comprehensive, fascinating, and informative view of the subject that is part historical treatise, part biography, part memoir, part case study, and part science textbook. Two-time Audie Award winner Stephen Hoye does a great job of conveying all of the nuances of the narrative, which can jump around at times and includes a large number of footnotes. This highly accessible and quality audio production will greatly satisfy audiences liking titles that similarly attempt to humanize otherwise clinical topics, such as Seth Mnookin's The Panic Virus, Mary Roach's Stiff, and Atul Gawande's Complications. [See Major Audio Releases, LJ 10/1/10; the National Book Critics Circle Award-nominated Scribner hc was a 2010 LJ Best Consumer Health Book and a 2010 LJ Best Sci-Tech Book; the Scribner pb will publish in September 2011.—Ed.]—Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ
'Sid Mukherjee's book is a pleasure to read, if that is the right word. Cancer today is widely regarded as the worst of all the diseases from which one might suffer - if only because it is fast becoming the most common. Dr. Mukherjee explains how this perception came about, how cancer has been regarded across the years and what is now being done to treat its protean forms. 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 Postwar and III Fares the Land 'Rarely have the science and poetry of illness been so elegantly braided together as they are in this erudite, engrossing, kind book. Mukherjee's clinical wisdom never erases the personal tragedies which are its occasion; indeed, he locates with meticulous clarity and profound compassion the beautiful hope buried in cancer's ravages.' Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of The Noonday Demon 'Siddhartha Mukherjee has done something that should not have been possible: he has managed, at once, to write an authoritative history of cancer for the general reader, while always keeping the experiences of cancer patients in his heart and in his narrative. 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
|Author's Note||p. xiii|
|"Of blacke cholor, without boyling"||p. 9|
|An Impatient War||p. 105|
|"Will you turn me out if I can't get better?"||p. 191|
|Prevention is the Cure||p. 235|
|"A Distorted Version of Our Normal Selves"||p. 335|
|The Fruits of Long Endeavors||p. 393|
|Atossa's War||p. 461|
|Selected Bibliography||p. 537|
|Photograph Credits||p. 543|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 592
Published: 1st February 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Dimensions (cm): 16.2 x 24.0 x 4.1
Weight (kg): 0.916