The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All MaladiesThe Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Do I really need to summarize this one? Mukherjee has put together an amazingly detailed, complex look at the history of cancer. It’s called a biography because cancer is so complicated and its history is so interesting that to call it anything else would be wrong. In this book, cancer is an evil enemy, one that doctors have come close to defeating but, as you will learn if you read it, may never be eradicated completely as it is ever-growing and changing.

I have to be honest and say that The Emperor of All Maladies took me forever to read. I chose to listen to the audio version, and I must admit that it wasn’t the kind of book that I compulsively listened to – in fact, it was quite the opposite. While it was interesting, I would stop listening for a while and had to force myself to pick it up and start again. About halfway through, I almost gave up on it, but since I was so far involved I made myself finish. While I’m glad I finished the book, it was LONG. And while I know it was fascinating, I think you have to be really patient to get through it.

And yes, the book was incredibly interesting. This is a complete look at cancer over the years – how far the research and treatments have come, what the doctors have learned, etc. But it was also scary because as much progress has been made, people still die from cancer every single day. There are still so many unknowns about cancer, and Mukherjee was not afraid to point out that fact.

I don’t know. I can recommend the book, if you are patient enough to get through it. And/or if the topic interests you enough. But it was a difficult read for me. And I know with absolute certainty I would not have made it through the print version. If you are an impatient reader like myself, and you are determined to read this one, I would recommend the audio.