Mike's Reviews > The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
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's review
Jan 30, 11

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Read in January, 2011

'The Emperor of All Maladies' is a comprehensive review of cancer and the quest to find treatment and a cure. The author discusses the first known observations of the disease and describes the evolution of research over the years. The range of cancer topics is broad and includes fund raising, turf fights among different physician groups, scientific minutiae, legal cases, among others. The span of the book is impressive and I walked away with a deeper understanding of the disease and the reasons that research over the years has been so frustrating. In fact, the first 400 pages of the book discuss more failures in research than successes.

On the negative side, I found the narrative somewhat forced and the authors description clinical and cold in some parts. The patient stories added some heart, but I get the sense that the author is interested in the abstract, intellectual concept of cancer more than the humans with the disease. At the end of the book, I was more informed about cancer and yet my empathy for the patients afflicted with this disease was not stirred up as much as I expected.
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