This book is a history of a whole branch of medicine that's intertwined with other disciplines as well as the lives of those unfortunate enough to be touched by cancer. The book reads like a mystery novel, starting with the first diagnosis of a seemingly uncurable and mysterious disease all the way to present day where cures for small subsets of different types of cancer slowly begin to appear. The book paves a path of hope for a future where we may one day see an end to this disease all together.
Even for someone like myself who has spent some time in the cancer field, the book can get pretty technical at times, but it answered many questions I've had about the disease in a very clear manner. Despite the sometimes technical nature of this book, the historical and personal anecdotes by the author make for a story that touches the deepest corners of the human experience.
The book provided an interesting account beginning with the first discoveries of cancer cells through the early attempts, and ongoing attempts to eradicate it.
Interesting and well presented. It provided the right amount of detail, in layman's terms. It kept my attention throughout.
This book was very good for quite a while, though there is not much of a natural history of cancer until modern times. Brief mentions of it were made by Galen and others from ancient eras, which are blurbed in an early chapter. Then you get an exhaustive and extensive history of cancer in the last century. The chapter on breast cancer was amazing, with mad scientist horror stories, and a pulp comic sort of feel to some of these procedures that were done to poor women. The chapter on the Jimmy Fund was informative and entertaining, as it was long before my time, but I liked hearing how the radio fund drive was invented and hit it off. And all the little tricks like renaming a boy Einar, "Jimmy" to make him sound more all-American. But the latter chapters just felt tacked-on to me. I wanted more brevity than detail by the end. Narration is good. I did finish the book by mixing in some other books to reduce listener fatigue, and admittedly, I have to do that with many if not all books, when listening more than a few hours each week. So its certainly worth the listen.
It is definitely in the top 10 science books
The perfect balance between describing the scientific progress in the cancer field, the social and political movements that emerged because of this disease, and an emotional touch that keeps you very into the reading.
I cried a little bit, but was in awe about getting to know the detailed story of cancer.
I love NPR and I love it when they provide informative segments. Many times I wish they would last longer because I love to learn new things.
This book does that. It's full of technical science things that went over my head, but at the same time took those technical moments and provided a human element.
There are dark moments throughout -- because cancer is very dark & depressing --, with a few glimpses of hope, but overall what I took away from this is that cancer sucks and we need a healthcare system that takes care of the WHOLE person just to diagnose.
It would be especially awesome if doctor's offices existed like on Private Practice...all of those specialists in once office -- that would be great medicine.
Well worth the time--excellent read! I'd highly recommend this book to anyone with the least interest in the history of science & medicine....
by turns tragic, inspiring, factual, personal, informative and moving. it's one of those books I feel the need to have in hard copy, so I can go back and take a peak at a random page. I was fascinated to learn how the historical background had shaped current attitudes towards cancer.
I didn't like the narration at first, but it grew on me, and now I hear Stephen Hoye as the voice of medical histories (he also narrated "the demon under the microscope").
all in all an excellent listen.
The Emperor of All Maladies is among the best books I have ever read. The Pulitzer it won is well deserved.
Mukherjee presents the history of cancer a style that lets the reader see the urgency felt by the researchers and the difficulties experienced by the patients. He leads the reader from the earliest attempts to describe and treat cancer to the latest modern techniques. The reader learns about the causes and treatments for the diseases as if observing the progress of understanding through history. The excellent prose includes personal stories of many patients as well as clear and understandable descriptions of the role of genes inthe disease. I believe this book would be enthralling for scientist and non-scientist alike.
Stephen Hoye gives an excellent performance.
I came away with a much better understanding of the causes of cancer, the types and variations of the disease and the current state of diagnosis and treatment of the disease. I give the book a whole-hearted recommendation.
The last section was a bit of a struggle for the laymen, but overall a very well read on the history of cancer.
I chose this due to ratings of others and because of people I've known who have dealt with cancer, including my mother. It was a fascinating treatise on cancer. Who knew the topic could be covered so humanely? The human studies were great.. I especially remember the little boy who was "Jimmy" of the Jimmy Fund. Not a Jimmy at all but the child of a Maine farmer. Amazing.