- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (February 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465015689
- ISBN-13: 978-0465015689
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Secret History of the War on Cancer Reprint Edition
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The Times (Higher Education Supplement)
The Secret History of the War on Cancer reflects the complex interaction of science, politics and society in the 20th century. I am left wondering how it will change in the 21st.”
Toronto Globe & Mail
Easily the most important science book of the year.... Each and every chapter in this book offers an uncomfortable revelation.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Davis is excellent at following the money and fearless about naming names.... With this work, Devra Davis has permanently reframed the war.' It should be required reading for those with cancer histories in their families. In other words, just about all of us.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer / Best 20 Books of 2007
This searing book from a University of Pittsburgh epidemiologist lays out 35 years of medical greed and cowardice that left millions of Americans vulnerable to environmental and occupational cancer deaths. Countless political books attempt to influence the electorate, but this one stands out from the pack, demonstrating why money changes everything.”
Davis put it together in a way that illuminates the underbelly of medical research."
"In her devastating, 20-years-in-the-making expose...Devra Davis... shows how cancer researchers, bankrolled by petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies, among others, collude in 'the science of doubt promotion.'...Davis diagnoses two of the most lethal diseases of modern society: secrecy and self-interest. This book is a dramatic plea for a cure."
Davis's new book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer, is a wake-up call for all those who have accepted the poisons of our age of plenty without a blink.”
A feisty and highly accessible writer, Davis lays her cards on the table...a rattling good read and raises vital issues that remain relevant today.”
Booklist starred review
&ldquoSeveral big ACS [American Cancer Society] contributors, are heavily invested in keeping the public from becoming fully informed of the risks of myriad chemicals to which we and our children are exposed.... Money, it seems, trumps all. Treatment and cures are hefty profit generators, and it's expensive to change or eliminate the use of potentially toxic chemicals.... Kudos to Davis for stepping up to the plate.”
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Top customer reviews
I knew something was off when I fond out how the Susan G Komen organization had morphed over the years, and how the ratios of funds devoted to the original cause vs funds devoted to fundraising vs funds devoted to the organizers changed. This book tells you the inside story of how the whole 'war on cancer' morphed in the same way, whether the federal part or the private part. The author tells you how, and you'll have to work out why.
A full cast of heroes, saints and villains, with many names, over many years. Compelling reading and a needed education for naive, optimistic people like me.
This system has resulted in the deaths of millions of Americans, the disability and scarring of millions more, our own family members, and it continues on in impunity. That the top officials of the tobacco industry are not either behind bars or hiding out in remote areas of South America is testament to the corruption and power of a morally depraved segment of our country's elites. This must have been a very challenging effort, to gather and sift through so much evidence of moral bankruptcy. We all owe Devra Davis our thanks for this very important service to our nation.
Too many of us place too much trust in corporations trying to sell us something, and not enough in our ability to push corporations to change what they're doing.
After watching what lengths the tobacco companies went to - and still go to - in order to profit through deception, Americans ought to be more skeptical about what other corporations tell us about the safety and benefits of their products.
In The Secret History of the War on Cancer, Davis brings up the excellent question of why we as a nation spend so much time and money trying to treat and cure cancer, and virtually ignore figuring out how to prevent it in the first place. What she reveals about the connections between businesses, charitable organizations, and politicians is an undeniable web that puts money and power over the health of the public. What I learned about Donald Rumsfeld's role in the history of aspartame (see pages 419 to 426) caused me to quit drinking any diet soda with it that same day.
Davis provides thoroughly researched details of the history of the identification of cancer, and shocking information on what has been done over time with what scientists have learned.
I found the central plot of The Secret History of the War on Cancer more gripping than any novel - because the corporate/government/medical decision to focus on treatment rather than finding the causes and working on prevention impacts me, my family, friends, neighbors, and everyone around the world who either develops cancer themselves or knows and loves someone who does.
Until reading Davis' book I had no idea that at one point the annual Pap smear I undergo was such a source of controversy in the medical field. Private insurance companies wanted only medical doctors to do the testing, not unlicensed, and therefore less expensive, staff. Surgeons saw Pap smears as a direct threat to the number of uterine biopsies they would do. As I read in today's newspapers about modern day arguments over "traditional" colonoscopies vs. swallowing a tiny camera, and the huge debate in England over whether mammograms are worthwhile - it is easy to see the pattern repeating. One person's health is another person's empty waiting room.
Davis lays out jaw-dropping cases involving industrial pollution, asbestos, artificial sweeteners, workplace chemicals - all clearly organized and solidly researched.
She has made me a much more careful consumer of products - and of news. In July 2009 the FDA admitted that they removed Dr. Sanjay Kaul of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a drug advisory committee after receiving a complaint from the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly representatives weren't pleased with Kaul's "independent analyses" of a clinical trial involving their product. (FDA Wrong to "Disinvite" Sanjay Kaul From Prasugrel Panel, Agency Tells Congressman; July 14, 2009,[...])
Because of Davis's work, I pay more attention to what I hear, and I make efforts to be a more critical thinker, gathering more information and working through things logically rather than simply accepting what I'm told to accept. How many Americans have asked their congressional representatives why the FDA has been given the authority to regulate tobacco products, but has been forbidden to ban them?
Personally, I think it would be very interesting to hear all the different responses, even though we've already been provided with the real answer - in Davis' book, and in the court case decided 5 to 4 by the Supreme Court in 2000, which said the FDA didn't have the authority to regulate tobacco products. Page 2 of the decision from "Food and Drug Administration et al. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. et al.," says: "[the FDA's] express policy is to protect commerce and the national economy while informing consumers about any adverse health effects." Justice Breyer, who wrote the opinion for the 4 dissenters, noted at the time, "The upshot is that the Court today holds that a regulatory statute aimed at unsafe drugs and devices does not authorize regulation of a drug (nicotine) and a device (a cigarette) that the Court itself finds unsafe. .. The majority's conclusion is counter-intuitive. .. Consequently, I dissent."
Note that in 2009 - despite the new regulatory powers given - the FDA still cannot regulate nicotine to the point of banning it to protect the health of Americans.
Read Davis' book, and among everything you will learn about cancer and U.S. businesses, the message that it is not only the FDA whose "express policy is to protect commerce and the national economy" becomes crystal clear. We need to be more vigilant on our own behalf for the good of our health, and Devra Davis' book helps us do that.