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When I first heard about Siddhartha Mukherjeeâs Emperor of Maladies, I avoided the book as it is all about cancer. I have a personal reason for this. I saw at close quarters my own father suffer and succumb to this dreaded disease in 1975.
I subsequently heard that this book also won Guardian first book prize. I had second thoughts. There must be something in this book. A book that may be just for medical students cannot win Pulitzer.
I read the book and I have only superlatives in praise of the book.
What is cancer? What causes it? Virus? Hereditary? Infection? Genetic disorder? Some poisonous chemicals? Or just an unresolved mystery?
Finally is cancer curable? Preventable?
Read on. You will get all the answers.
There's not much I can say that hasn't been said already. The amount of research that has gone into this work of great scholarship is immense. Every story, every fact, every anecdote is meticulously footnoted and referenced.
Dr. Mukherjee approaches the dreaded disease from multiple angles at multiple levels and somehow manages to come up with a beautifully written, wonderfully coherent, at times magical, literary blockbuster. I liked the historical overview he provides, putting everything in context. Paced just right, it reads like a gripping novel--only terribly true.
My only minor quibble is that the last few pages seem hastily written and rather shoddily edited. And he sometimes uses too many adjectives. But that's a minor issue, easily swept aside. This book will inform you, enlighten you, engage you, entertain you, make you laugh and cry, and make you a better person. No, I'm not joking.
As a doctor I approached the book with some trepidation. Did not want a more than necessary melodramatic account. However the book strikes a great balance between `experience` of cancer and the science. It is so packed with information that I wondered whether it can be assimilated by anyone other than a doctor. On the other hand it is written so well that anyone with an interest in cancer, medicine, popular science or even an oncologist (!) would find it absorbing.
What a book! Excellence! You would fall in love with cancer while reading this book. And the quality of research and facts will surprise you beyond imagination. Writer has interconnected distant points extremely well creating a huge picture about everything and anything happening in Cancer across the world. I think the book is a must read for everyone, esp. non medicos.
This is not a book. It is really a life saver, an intangible asset that one can carry throughout the life.
Hardwork, passion, determination, philanthropy, and what other, this has all sorts of a quality described for a human being's character.
The author has written well and in simple words easily digestable for a reader.
I recommend this book as a "must have" amongst your library.
Great flow, a clinical as well as human description of a disease whose horror cannot be measured in numbers. The author presents enough statistics as well as stories of people who fought with, and lost/won against the Disease.
However, the author could have focused more on non-USA cases as well (in the disease's recent history, almost all the examples considered are from the USA)
All in all, it's a great primer for anyone who is interested in finding out more about cancer.
please don't get intimidated by Dr Mukherjee's degrees and experience. He has written this book keeping the layman too in mind. It is a great narrative of cancer's history, with necessary names and dates. The only thing to be desired is better timeline as you may get confused at some points. It is a must read so as to know how some doctors have toiled to find a remedy for cancer. Invest your time in it, returns are assured.
I could not put it down till I finished the book.Being a physician involved with cancer care and having a deep interest in the history of medicine added to my decision in picking up the book.It is a well researched book with complete bibliography yet interesting due to excellent narrative.The author himself is a cancer expert and keeping in view of mixed readership ,he has been elaborate at places.I have discussed the book with several peers and in fact gifted few copies.
I congratulate Siddhartha for this wonderful book ,I liked his summery at the end which states the limitations of medical science.
A page turner,with lots of interesting details about king of all maladies.Siddhartha has churned out an masterpiece.Non fiction lovers will truly enjoy this informative epic.Feels like i should have taken medical stream after reading this, such interest it creates in anyone.Author has made all the topics readable to non medical persons with no heavy technical jargon..its a Must Read
This book charts the history of cancer treatments - right from the time of Persian queens to the very recent ones. And Mr. Mukherjee does it with a sense of detachment - though he himself has been treating a lot of his patients using techniques mentioned in the pages. The story begins with one of his patient's worsening conditions and ends with that patient becoming better. But what lies between is the crux of the matter. How doctors, chemists and the like have persevered over decades if not centuries in the modern medicinal world to uproot cancer without knowing how it is caused is amusing yet threatening. A very well written and grasping book by the doctor. No wonder that it won the Pulitzer.