Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7091-5
Buy from Indigo

Description: Cancer is among the most dreaded of diseases, often mentioned in whispers or euphemisms. (The very word is a curse in Dutch.) Whatever we call it, "the big C" is unavoidable in any language: According to the World Cancer Report, it will become the worldwide leading cause of deaths in 2010. Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies lifts the taboo by presenting a history of cancer in the context of both of miscomprehensions and advances in its detection and treatment. As a cancer physician and researcher whose articles have appeared in a wide variety of publications, the author approaches the subject with a rare combination of expertise, humanity, and writing skills. A Discover Great New Book Selection. (A sample of prepublication testimonials: "Rarely have the science and poetry of illness been so elegantly braided together as they are in this erudite, engrossing, kind book.")

The Good Stuff

  • I won't lie, when I opened up the mail and saw this my first thought was WTF - pulizter prize winner, hello this is not my thing. I am not an overly intelligent women and well quite frankly was thinking dullsville. Well, I was very, very wrong!
  • This is brilliantly written and relatively easy to understand -- even for me
  • I was so fascinated and learned so much I actually found it difficult to put down
  • Medical information is in depth, interesting and written in more layman terms - which very much surprising
  • Incredibly well researched & some fantastic notes and detailed index (yes I know its geeky but I am an anal Library Technician
  • Fascinating to see the denial through history of the connection between tobacco and cancer -- especially from educated medical personal 
  • Horrified and disgusted at times of all the research done on unsuspecting patients, even knowing the benefits it had in the medical field 
  • Actually teared up a couple of times which very much surprised me
  • The author has a very honest, sensitive and personal manner which is a rarity in a Dr (Trust me I have spent my whole life surrounded by those in the medical profession)
  • The writing is almost lyrical which again surprised me
  • Cancer really does suck ass & hopefully one day we will kick its ass
The Not so Good Stuff
  • At times it jumps from time frame to time frame which was a little disconcerting
  • Some noticeable repetition - better editing would have made it a tighter piece of writing
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"As a doctor learning to tend cancer patients, I had only a  partial glimpse of this confinement. But even skirting its periphery, I could still feel its power-the dense, insistent gravitational tug that pulls everything and everyone into the orbit of cancer."


"When Wynder presented his preliminary ideas at a conference on lung biology in Memphis, not a singles question or comment came from the members of the audience, most of whom had apparently slept through the talk or cared too little about the topic to be roused.  IN contrast, the presentation that followed Wynder's, on an obscure disease called pulmonary adenomatosis in sheep, generated a lively, half hour debate."

"Germaine fought cancer obsessively, cannily, desperately, fiercely, madly, brilliantly, and zealously - as if channeling all the fierce, inventive energy of generations of men and women who had fought cancer in the past and would fight it in the future."

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Anyone who has been affected in any way by Cancer
  • All medical professional dealing with Cancer
  • So yeah, its pretty much required reading for everyone over the age of 16 (Terminology and subject matter might be hard to deal with by those younger than 16)
4.5 Dewey's

I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review

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