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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Paperback – August 9, 2011
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“This volume should earn Mukherjee a rightful place alongside Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Stephen Hawking in the pantheon of our epoch's great explicators.”—Boston Globe
About the Author
Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of 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 assistant 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 Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com
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When you are told you have cancer you are bewildered. You are also very angry. I asked myself was there something I had done in my past that was going to deprive me seeing my two sons grow up into happy young men and dads. The first two weeks go by in a weird nightmare. Day 17 your hair falls out. Your peeing orange from the chemo drugs, which have put me off lucozade for life. You double check all your insurances are up to date and update a well to make sure my wife does not have any hassles with the tax authorities. At the age of 44 you are very angry. You realise you are likely going to die. You are angry because you have no idea what is doing it. What you planned for when you were older is all meaningless. But, thanks to certain stubbornness and amazing treatment and care, and a generous sift of life from a German donor of life giving stem cells, I am alive.
This book helps explain many of the questions I had. It does it in a way that makes sense if you don't have a degree in science. What was until recently a death sentence is no longer the case. The battle against cancer was waged by intrepid individuals, and this book explains the war so far. It outlines the causes of cancer, whether it is a virus, bacteria, induced by smoking or chemicals, or just our own body playing up and turning on itself. It explains how our own understanding is still basic but advancing year by year, and treatments, if not cures, are being found for many, although not all cancers.
I learned that was once a death sentence is not the case today. I am looking forward to see my sons become men. This book gave me clarity, it gave me hope.
Why did I pick this up? I've been teaching microbiology to nurses, and I knew that viruses often lead to cancer. I really wanted a better understanding of the science of how viruses can lead to cancer. I also had friends of my mom and dad who died with cancer back in the 1970's, especially breast cancer...and I wanted to know what, if anything has changed. I remember the declaration of the War on Cancer when I was a teenager, and it seems like we know significantly more thanks to genetics, but it also seems as if cancer has never given up holding the best 'hand'.
Dr. Mukherjee did an incredibly job of intertwining the history of cancer with the ongoing story. Without the background half of what he explained would not have made such 'neat' sense. And the stories of his individual patients and those of other doctors, helps the reader remember the humanity behind this saga. I get the feeling Mukherjee is a great and caring doctor as well. And given the amount of death that must be seen in this field, it must be hard to keep that humanity without becoming cynical.
I'm keeping this book...and will probably read it again.
Most recent customer reviews
Easy to follow and extremely captivating. Gets you from the start