This book should be required reading for all new oncologists and cancer researchers. It covers cancer's history through the ups and downs. Best of all, it is engaging and not a bore to read. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know more about the seemingly mysterious disease that is cancer.
Buyers should be aware that this book is written purely from an oncologist's point of view, as in 'look at all the fine new treatments we now have' with very little mention of hideous side effects on patients. Tamoxifen, for instance, is described as 'almost free of side effects.' For a book published in 2010, this is remarkably disingenuous. Or else the author just doesn't want to know about that part.
The Emperor of All Maladies is a fitting 'biography' for this set of diseases that commands our scientific and clinical efforts as well as our imagination and fears. Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, fellowship-trained at Harvard, provides a comprehensive overview of cancer. Beginning in ancient Egypt, where it was recognized as the malady with no cure, the story quickly jumps to a riveting account of how scientists, clinicians, and motivated activists have marshaled tremendous resources into a "War against Cancer," especially in the United States. It makes clear how the complex cancer landscape had come about. Readers who found molecular biology dry might find it more interesting and intelligible in service of a larger story of hope, frustration, and discovery. Real patients, including Mukherjee's own patient Carla, provide the human dimension. I highly recommend this book to those interested in the history of medicine or affected by cancer.