The Emperor of All Malladies

The Emperor of All Malladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I had this book on my "To Read" list for a long time. It wasn't until the topic of the book hit too close to home that I finally picked it up and read it. Devoured really. My preferred way to handle a difficult thing is to learn as much as I can about it. If you want to learn the biology, history, and societal impacts of cancer, this is the book. The topic is grim but the Siddhartha Mukherjee is an excellent writer. Clear, intelligent, empathetic, Mukherjee describes what cancer is and how humanity has dealt with these diseases over the centuries and millennia.

The book sets out to be a biography of cancer and it succeeds. He drives home the point, often overlooked, that cancer is not a disease, but 1000s of different kids, all with their own quirks and oddities. Each cancer is unique to the person who has it. It is our genetic machinery striving for immortality, and succeeding. The utlimate evolutionary success. After reading, one will understand why different treatments work and don't work and have a grasp of the brutal, sometimes horrific, path that got us to where we are today. You'll also be thankful you live in the 21st century. I think this is an important book and one that I'm glad I read. Recommened.

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