The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Description: Moved by his experiences during his advanced training in oncology, Mukherjee set out to capture the history of cancer. He begins the journey chronicling the ancient "whisperings" of the disease and navigates through present day, detailing the radical persuasions, beliefs and politics woven throughout the disease and its' treatment. At the very beginning of the book, however, Mukherjee admits this book became more of a biography than a history. He longs to "understand its personality and demystify its behavior" adding that his "ultimate aim" was to pose a very important question: is it possible to truly eradicate this disease?


Recommended by: Catie Knight, CCRP, Coordinator, Breast Cancer Prevention Center

"I found this book to have the right mix of science and humanity, appealing to both medical professional and patient. For my generation, fighting the War on Cancer wasn't necessarily novel so I was intrigued to learn more about cancer's history prior to this pivotal time. The politics involved also had me asking a number of questions regarding limitations placed on oncology research with government having such great fiscal control.  Does government hinder or help? Could we be doing more in drug discovery?  I also greatly appreciated Mukherjee's willingness to ask the question I've pondered so frequently - is an end to cancer even possible? Does a cure for some mean the possibility of a cure for all?"

Last modified: May 21, 2012