'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
A comprehensive history of cancer -- one of the greatest enemies of medical progress -- and an insight into its effects and potential cures, by a leading expert on the illness. Cancer is one of a handful of human ailments that continue to elude us. The modern age is plagued with news of rising cancer rates, all kinds of possible man-made causes and a constant stream of potential miracle cures. In the course of his investigations into cancer, however, Siddhartha Mukherjee discovered that it is an ancient illness, which endured for centuries as a private matter, swaddled in secrecy and shame. Peering beyond the screen he saw that every generation had imagined cancer uniquely, and made its own desperately inventive attempt to find a cure. It is only over recent generations that cancer has morphed into one of the most public and politically scrutinised diseases of our era. Mukherjee delves into the larger history of cancer. How old is it? When did the battle against it begin? How have we -- as a society -- dealt with its challenge? How have we imagined the disease and what forces have we marshalled against it? Essentially: where are we in the war against cancer?What, if anything, have we won so far, and what have we lost? Cancer is a survivor: it changes, it adapts, it evolves, it grows. It is so close to us in biology that, in destroying it, we often destroy ourselves. The quest for the 'cure' for cancer has gradually transformed into a lodestone quest, the yardstick of our scientific and medical progress. This book is the story of that quest.