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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

evaluări:
4.5/5 (187 evaluări)
Lungime:
22 ore
Lansat:
Dec 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781508214243
Format:
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Nota editorului

A microbial adversary…

Acclaimed science author Mukherjee tells the story of humanity’s most formidable adversary with the passion of a biographer in this Pulitzer Prize-winner.

Descriere

A magnificent, beautifully written "biography" of cancer - from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

The Emperor of All Maladies reveals the many faces of an iconic, shape-shifting disease that is the defining plague of our generation. 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". Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary. The audiobook is like a literary thriller with cancer as the central character.

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the 19th-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee's own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through toxic, bruising, and draining regimens in order to survive - and to increase the store of human knowledge.

Lansat:
Dec 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781508214243
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

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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  • (5/5)
    Very interesting "biography of cancer" that makes me really glad we've passed the "let's just remove everything in the vicinity of the tumor, I'm sure that muscle is not terribly important"-stage of cancer treatment already - and makes me wonder which of todays treatments we will look back on in horror in 30 years. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    This is a page-turner. About the history, sociology, treatment and impact of cancer. If that sounds impossible to do, read the book. If it sounds interesting, read the book. I haven't read a more profound, well-researched or engaging non-fiction work in ages.

    I'll leave it to other reviewers to give you more details, but I cannot recommend this one strongly enough. You'll be more empathetic and far better informed on the ongoing war on cancer.
  • (4/5)
    4.5 A thorough and reasonably elegant introduction to cancer; how we know what we know. A point for the scientists in the eternal expert vs. writer non-fiction conflict. Very slightly overwritten at parts, the book covers a great deal of difficult ground with pleasant speed. Worth it for the chapter quotes.
  • (5/5)
    medicine bookbox; fascinating for such a difficult subject. Cancer really is a suite of diseases and more prominent now because other diseases, like flu and TB aren't killing us any more.
  • (5/5)
    Readable linear history of cancer treatment with a strong emphasis on the characters - biomedical researchers, physicians, surgeons, patients and publicists - behind the transforming landscape of oncology.The layperson may wish to first read Mukherjee's more technical The Gene: An Intimate History (2016) to appreciate some of the latest research he outlines.
  • (5/5)
    This book was everything I hoped it would be. A great non-fiction read--fascinating as history and as current as tomorrow's headline. Mukherjee does an excellent job taking a very complicated story and pulling all the pieces together in a coherent narrative and at the same time explaining the science behind the story so that laymen can easily understand. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the amazing leaps that have happened in the fight against cancer and why the fight ahead is so challenging. Great book! Highly recommended!
  • (5/5)
    This is the history of cancer, from its first mention in ancient Egyptian texts to today. It includes the history of how we understood it and how we treated it to what we know about it now and how it's treated. It is the most spectacular book about cancer that I can imagine could be written.
  • (3/5)
    It took me a very long time to get through this book. It was interesting but it was a long slog. I don't think Dr Mukherjee is a particularly good writer of history. Once we got to the genetics section I was lost as I just find genetics incomprehensible. So while I learnt a few things I feel there is probably a better book than this to be written on cancer history.
  • (3/5)
    A friend gave me this book as a gift around the time I was going through cancer treatment. I didn't read it right away figuring the subject would be too difficult both physically (due to treatment related fatigue) and emotionally. Even now, almost 3 years later, parts of it were hard for me to read.The book delves into the history of cancer and into the development of cancer treatments. It's amazing to realize how recent the treatment regimen I was on had been developed--and hard not to be grateful for not having to go through what some of the early sufferers did.
  • (5/5)
    This is an epic volume. It could be argued that it could have been written with a more poetic, or should I say, flamboyant style, but it is very clearly and solidly crafted, despite it not coming from a journalist or historian, trained in the craft. It is subtitled as a "biography", but being a bit of a history buff, it reads to me more like a mix between an elaborate mystery and a war history. The media of today tends to lump all cancers together into some type of alien invasion that never ceases to attack. In fact, while this book establishes that at its very deepest essence, cancers are all the same, they attack in such varied ways that it feels to society like an all out assault on our populations with every conceivable weapon at the enemy's disposal. If other readers want to stay superficial in their understanding of this great enemy, so be it. But if you want to know and understand a force that is dramatically more likely to do harm to you than whatever terrorist from your favorite hated religious group, then you owe it to yourself to read this. One side comment: if you happen to have seen the very recent PBS documentary based on this book, please know that you have barely scratched the surface of the book and in a not very eloquent way. Read the book. You'll have a much better understanding of the subject and not be left with the mistaken impressions that the video provides.
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely brilliant.
  • (4/5)
    If you want to read one book about cancer this is a great choice. The author is a good writer and the information is up to date. Cancer remains one of our biggest challenges, and this book shows why. The author is good at simplifying some of the biological and genetic complexities of cancer while also bringing a personal touch to the topic.
  • (4/5)
    Intense and very detailed. A good balance of carefully explained science and personal stories. Definitely makes one reflect on how one would react personally to a diagnosis of cancer. Not for the faint of heart and generated many occasions when I had to put the book down as I remembered all the friends I have lost to cancer and the horrific amounts of pain and suffering they endured to extend their lives by a few months (brain cancer) and at most, a few years (ovarian cancer, lung cancer). I think it was supposed to be hopeful, but reading this 'biography of cancer' made me immensely sad and scared.
  • (5/5)
    Beautifully written.
  • (5/5)
    "The Emperor of All Maladies" (EM)is an excellent book but a difficult one to read. Difficult for several reasons. It deals with cancer and death, it involves a lot of complex science issues, it is rife with small victories and major setbacks, and it is 470 pages long. But despite all the challenges of the subject matter, the author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, provides just the right balance of anecdotes, personal experience, scientific theory, and milestone events to keep the reader engaged, looking for the next tidbit of good news that is sprinkled throughout the book. Dr. Mukherjee writes very well, very precisely, and wisely labeled his story a biography rather than a history. Though the book maintains a chronological storyline, it never gets caught up in an abundance of names and dates. Rather it moves seemlessly through the major transitions in the battle against cancer from radical surgeries to magical elixirs to seeking the magic bullet that will cure all cancers. To chemotherapy to radiation to adjuvant combination therapy, with a parallel emphasis on prevention to improved screening to research on the cancer genome. Along the journey we learn of statistical measures for the determination of success and failure. And the key questions - Are we making progress? and What does the future hold? are addressed in great detail. I struggled with the last 80 pages or so with the emphasis on gene theory, but I understood what I read,perhaps not as deeply as I would have liked. Most importantly, I came awy from the experience of this book with a great respect and deep gratitude for the people who have devoted their lives to improving our mortality. Note that I did not say "to finding the cure". You will have to read the book to understand why. Five stars !
  • (4/5)
    A mammoth and ambitious undertaking and well worth reading. Parts are somewhat depressing and parts are enlightening. I also found the book pretty frightening because it confirmed what I have observed; that incredible progress has been made in just a few types of cancer. Researchers have pretty much figured out what causes a few kinds of cancer and have developed highly successful treatments for them. Those cases account for the cancer statistics getting better. There are also some cancers that can be put into remission for a while. But there are still some cancers that remain unexplained and incurable.

    *********************************************

    I'm on page 355 with more than 100 pages to go. The book starts in ancient times and moves along more or less chronologically addressing different discoveries about, and treatments for, cancer. Leukemia was particularly interesting; lung cancer, not so much. Sometimes the author takes longer than necessary to tell about some discovery. I fell asleep twice during the lecture on DNA. On page 375 the clinicians and the biologists went to a dinner where they separated and talked among themselves. I can relate. I was very interested in the clinician part of the book and had a hard time following the biologist part of the book, even though I realize how significant their work is. The author describes the biologist's search for cancer genes "a slow, frustrating time" and that's how I felt about that part of the book.

    On page 337 the author had gotten up to 2005 and then he flashed back to 1914 and I was like OH NO!

    This book was recommended to me when it came out by the nurse who coordinates our cancer patients' support group at the hospital. I didn't get around to reading it until now. Probably because the last thing I want to read about is cancer. One of my chemo drugs is covered on page 203 and I can vouch for the author's total accuracy on that. I bought my barf bags in bulk.

    I laughed at the hospital that put up wire mesh on the balcony to prevent their chemotherapy patients from jumping because my hospital was smart enough to put chemo on the ground floor.

    On page 328 the author says "Another patient record, tracked back to its origin, belonged to a man -- obviously not a patient with breast cancer." Maybe there weren't supposed to be any men included in that study but certainly men can get breast cancer. The American Cancer Society statistics for 2013 say that about 2,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men and about 410 men will die from breast cancer. Admittedly, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers for women but a man can still be a breast cancer patient.



  • (5/5)
    Interesting and informative. Excellent narration on the audiobook.
  • (4/5)
    Cancer sucks. This was such an amazing listen, but also very depressing. To know that we've been trying to "cure" cancer for hundreds of years but still aren't any closer is just devastating. Mukherjee takes you on quite a roller coaster of a trip as you follow patients (mainly Carla). There are dark moments throughout, with a few glimpses of hope, but overall...cancer just sucks. (I really hate the tobacco industry...I mean, they KNEW and STILL KNOW that their products were/are killing people, but they still market them like crazy. Evil.)
  • (4/5)
    I found this supremely well written, balanced between the smooth telling of a suspense (who-done-it?) and just enough grounding in science history to keep both strands readable.
    He kept the human context alive with the patients he followed and he showed humility in the way he never presumed to be more than a learner even after he became a qualified specialist.
    The best science books are those that kindle the feeling of awe at life and the universe. Here there is awe at the perseverance of many to find cures and even awe at the incredible wily supreme survivor, the disease itself.
    The only reason I didn't give 5-stars was because there wasn't enough of the patients perspectives, but perhaps I'm being unfair, the subtitle is "a biography of Cancer" after all.
  • (3/5)
    I wish I could have given this 3.5 stars. It is a good book, but I don't necessarily think it is a 4-star book. Basically if you are a giant science/history nerd or have a fascination with cancer, this is a great book. As someone who is only partially interested in it, I was able to read it, but wasn't necessarily riveted by it.

    This is a good, readable story all about cancer. There are enough stories about actual people that it is able to flow. However the "thrilling" quote on the front cover from O Magazine is a bit much.
  • (4/5)
    A very interesting, informative and ultimately optimistic book about the history of cancer treatment.My main criticism is the American-centric viewpoint. This makes it mainly a story on the development of cancer treatment in the USA. While a lot of the developments have come from the US, I'm sure that there have been plenty of contributions from other countries, and a wider focus would have made the book more interesting.
  • (5/5)
    This is an amazingly clear book for lay people about the history and future hope of cancer. So well written, it is highly readable though you need to pay close attention as the discoveries become more complicated. A comprehensive description of the disease, the research, the treatments, and hopes for cure is laid out logically and compassionately. Cancer is known to have afflicted the human race at least 4000 years. The understanding of what was happening and how to respond has evolved from crude to complicated. The public has been crying out for a cure to this frightening and isolating monster of death. Though it sometimes doesn't seem it, that cry is being heard and addressed around the world. Mukherjee, an oncologist, has outlined very clearly the advances in our theories, treatments, and results over the centuries. In addition to the science, he has interspersed the sense of human angst and fighting spirit by citing personal cases and touching stories. He is a physician of sensitivity and hope.The research and critical knowledge of cancer has come slowly for many reasons, e.g., we didn't even have an inkling of what cells were, nevermind how they behaved. There wasn't time to perform scientific studies and save lives at the same time. Many were dying waiting for the answers... and still are. But we have come a very long way and it is obvious as the reader proceeds through this book. The hope offered at the end of this work is not magical nor unrealistic. We have approached a time where it is possible for some types of cancer to be controlled for a normal life span. The secrets are unravelling. Highly recommended.
  • (2/5)
    With this one, let me get the bad over with first. It was a roller coaster ride of depressingly dull writing, soul-suckingly sad mortality, and scientifically intriguing giddiness. The good is that Mukherjee has written an adventurous, touring expose into the rhyme and reason in the research of cancer, which can be reduced to cancer cells are cool to scientists, multiple approaches and early discovery are helpful but we are still (mostly) screwed but with longer intervals.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating overview on the "topic of Cancer". Cancer is ubiquitous, so everyone should read this overview book. One needs to pay attention though. The biochemical, metabolic, genetic, and pharmacological terminology is a real challenge. It's better to focus on a chapter or so, at a time. The ending of this "biography" notes that cancer is a genetic reality within our bodies. The war of cancer may be considered won, if cancers can be delayed long enough so that patients can lead a normal life.
  • (5/5)
    One of the most brilliant books I've read. He traces cancer's story and the story of our attempts to cure it. We began with a blunt understanding of cancer as a single illness and searched for a single cure. Treatments were equally blunt - dangerous, radical surgeries to remove cancerous growth, followed by almost inevitable relapse and death; toxic chemotherapies that might kill the patient before saving him. In the last few decades, scientists have finally achieved basic understanding of cancer biology and revealed it to be extremely complex and varied - not a single disease but a singular disease. Each individuals' cancer is composed of a unique set of hundreds of genetic mutations. This understanding has prompted more specific, less devastating cures. Yet even as our cures improve, our understanding of cancer's complexity expands --- we begin to see mountains beyond those just climbed. Cancer will always remain elusive despite our most concerted efforts. We must run in place just to maintain our ground.
  • (5/5)
    Very good, comprehensive history/"biography" of cancer. A bit heavy going, but good explanations and human stories break it up a bit.
  • (5/5)
    This is a detailed but highly readable treatment of human experience of the various diseases collectively called cancer. An oncologist himself, the author examines the history of the malady. He explores advances in diagnosis and treatment over the century. Diving deeper, he reports on research into the cellular and genetic processes underlying the uncontrolled replication of cells. Throughout it all, though, he puts a human face on the battle.It wasn't until I was most of the way through this book that I found out it's the source for a new Ken Burns documentary that will be airing on PBS stations this Spring.
  • (5/5)
    My guess is I'm not the first person to use the term "magisterial" to describe this so-called "biography" of cancer. In fact I would be surprised if many people had not used the term in their description. It begins with Imhotep's description/diagnosis of cancer and the stark statement that there is nothing that can be done about it. And then it moves forward charting our understanding of the disease, the evolution of the main types of treatment, how we think about the disease, all interspersed with a few stories of his own patients that illustrate many of the larger themes in the book.

    I initially thought it was poorly organized and like any historical survey took too long to get to the modern understanding and in particular the molecular biological understanding of cancer. But it eventually got there, in a quite fullsome way, and looking back it was a coherent read and actually an exciting page turner. I just wish we knew how it ends--but that chapter has not been written yet.
  • (5/5)
    Cancer has been with us as long as there has been an us. We have studied it, theorized on it, treated it, cured it, and died from it - and, as we live longer, more and more people are living with (or dying from) it. Its history is intricately intertwined with our own, with the history of our ever changing understanding of our own biology and of its. Just as patients are storytellers, so are doctors and oncologist, Siddhartha Mukherjee tells the story of cancer, of patients, of doctors and scientists and of how we look at the world. It is deeply literate, utterly compelling, and a fabulous read.Dr. Mukherjee's book explicates not only the history of cancer, but also the revolutionary, creative, and very visual process of science. The number of discoveries that occurred because someone could see are astonishing. I was reminded of a woman I knew as a child in Memphis - Dorothy Stern. She taught my father enameling at Memphis Academy of Arts and also did medical illustration. She drew sickle cell anemia for a paper a doctor was writing on the morphology of human blood cells and her illustration is considered a classic because she could see and show others what she saw through her drawings and this led to new thinking about the cells. Likewise amazing things happen when a scientist spreads pictures out on her dining room tables and looks for patterns.If you read one non-fiction book this year, read The Emperor of All Maladies. It's a fascinating suspenseful story of a disease that we will all be touched by at some time in our lives - directly or indirectly. It is in us, it is us. We should know it.
  • (5/5)
    Siddhartha displays an excellent understanding of cancer and is able to describe it in understandable terms. This book covers the history of cancer and discusses advances, problems, and causes in cancer. Although I have worked in the field for years, I learned quite a bit. Thanks go to Siddhartha for putting this book together.