The Emperor of All Maladies

  • by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 20 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 2011
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2011
A comprehensive history of cancer – one of the greatest enemies of medical progress – and an insight into its effects and potential cures, by a leading expert on the illness.
In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher and award-winning science writer, examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years.
The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience and perseverance, but also of hubris, arrogance and misperception, all leveraged against a disease that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out ‘war against cancer’. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the eyes of predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary.
From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipient of primitive radiation and chemotherapy and Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through toxic, bruising, and draining regimes to survive and to increase the store of human knowledge.
Riveting and magisterial, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments and a brilliant new perspective on the way doctors, scientists, philosophers and lay people have observed and understood the human body for millennia.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I had no idea how little I knew about Cancer

Brilliant book - I can't remember what prompted me to choose this but I am so glad I did. It is really three books - a gripping novel, a scientific history, and an ethical work out. Would you have tortuously prolonged the lives of children you couldn't cure? No? Then you would not have discovered the cure to childhood leukemia! Ouch. All the amazing hopes and setbacks that have been cancer research in the past 30 years must have been reported in the news, yet remained peripheral to my consciousness. Wonderful author-doctor to have brought it all to centre stage.
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- Judy Corstjens


This is a remarkable book - original, full of humanity, incredibly educational and very interesting. It traces a journey of long standing human effort to battle one of the most devastating diseases - cancer - the struggles encountered, unexpected finds as well as hard won victories. The author has conducted an impressive research into the topic, and his book is full of fascinating details, both scientific as well as personal touches. His use of language is makes it a real literary pleasure to read, even though the material is at times very complex (and on occasions little difficult to follow, especially the latter part), and the structure of the book is incredibly well thought-through, joining personal touch, with scientific information and philosophical reflections. One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. However, as the book is full of scientific details to process, I personally would have found paper version easier to follow than audio version, although the narration was excellent and very clear.
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- Marianna

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-08-2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited