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The Emperor of All Maladies : A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies

A Biography of Cancer

Paperback Published: 27th October 2011
ISBN: 9780007250929
Number Of Pages: 400

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Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Product Description

From a cancer physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES is a stunning combination of medical history, cutting edge science, and narrative journalism that transforms our understanding of cancer and much of the world around us. Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist′s precision, a novelist′s richness of detail, a historian′s range, and a biographer′s passion.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, arrogance, paternalism, and misperception, all leveraged against a disease that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all out "war against cancer." It′s a story of science and scientists, of centuries of discoveries, of setbacks and victories and deaths, told through the eyes of Mukherjee′s predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary.

From the Persian Queen Atossa who instructed her Greek slave to cut off her malignant breast to the radical surgeries of the nineteenth century, to the first recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy, to Mukherjee′s own leukemia patient, Carla, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALDIES is a story of people -- and their families -- who soldier through toxic, bruising, and draining regimens to survive and to increase the store of human knowledge.

Riveting and magisterial, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments and offers a bold new perspective on the way doctors, scientists, philosophers and lay people have observed and understood the human body for millennia.

About the Author

Siddhartha Mukherjee M.D., Ph.D., is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and from Harvard Medical School and was a Fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and an attending physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

Industry Reviews

`Mukherjee calls this great and beautiful book a biography, rather than a history, because he wants his reader to understand his subject not just as a disease, a scientific problem or a social condition, but as a character - an antagonist with a story to tell. His intensely vivid and precise descriptions of biological processes accumulate into a character, fully developed and eerily familiar. The notion of "popular science" doesn't come close to describing this achievement. It is literature.' Observer

`This is a riveting book...profound, eloquent and searching' John Carey, Sunday Times

`"The Emperor of All Maladies" is the book that many will have been waiting for. This elegantly written overview allows us to look a once whispered-about illness squarely in the eye.' Independent

`So beautifully written; this is literature, not popular science. "The Emperor of Maladies" empowers us, makes it clear that we really do know this enemy, and so brings us another step closer to victory.' Evening Standard

`Mukherjee never condescends, yet he manages to write lucidly and tellingly about complex experimental, technological and theoretical matters' Will Self, New Statesman

Beautifully Written, as Informative as it is Moving


The Emperor of All Maladies is a masterpiece. Studying this field from the end of a molecular biologist, this book gave me a brilliant insight into the deeply personal and moving human story that surrounds this illness. I cannot recommend this book enough, brimming with information, the author manages to provide technical details while maintaining accessibility for non-specialists. By telling the stories of patients past and present, and fusing this history with snapshots into his own career and personal life, you have a chronology which is human and extraordinarily moving. I never expected to learn as much, or feel as much as I did. The book is beautifully written, some of the nomenclature and technical terms may be intimidating to a laymen reader, but don't be put off! The story is able to be followed, and not understanding the minutia will not negatively impact the overall experience of a wonderful novel. I've nothing but praise.

Canberra, Australia


A must read


Highly informative- never read a doctor's views like this.


I found the content to be very interesting and informative.


I wanted to read as I have a cancer problem

New Zealand

A well research & brilliantly presented.


This book is a must for all cancer sufferers. It gives a history and an understanding of the decease in an easy to read manner. It brings the reader up to date with new findings and a look into the future with hope.



The Emperor of All Maladies

4.8 4


ISBN: 9780007250929
ISBN-10: 0007250924
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 27th October 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.4 x 12.8  x 4.0
Weight (kg): 0.43