The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
|The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer|
Cover of The Emperor of All Maladies
|Publication date||November 16, 2010|
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer is a book written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, an Indian-born American physician and oncologist. Published on November 16, 2010 by Scribner, it won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction: the jury called it "an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal".
The book weaves together Mukherjee's experiences as a hematology/oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the history of cancer treatment and research. Mukherjee gave the history of cancer from its first identification 4,600 years ago by the Egyptian physician Imhotep. The Greeks had no understanding of cells, but they were familiar with hydraulics, so they used hydraulic metaphors, of humors, which were fluids whose proper balance, they believed, produced health and sickness. In the 19th century, William Halsted developed an aggressive, disfiguring surgery. Leukemia was first observed by Rudolph Virchow, and Franz Ernst Christian Neumann localized the pathology to the bone marrow. Leukemia cells are dependent on the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, and Sidney Farber used molecules developed by Yellapragada Subbarao to block the enzyme and destroy the leukemia cells, producing a temporary remission in the disease.
According to Mukherjee, the book was a response to the demand of a patient: "I’m willing to go on fighting, but I need to know what it is that I’m battling." Mukherjee states that two of his influences for the book were Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On and Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, but the defining moment for him was "when he conceived of his book as a biography". It was described, by TIME magazine, as one of the 100 most influential books of the last 100 years, and by the New York Times magazine as among the 100 best works of non-fiction.
Awards and honors 
- 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, winner
- 2011 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, winner (inaugural)
- 2011 Guardian First Book Award, winner
- 2011 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, shortlist
- 2010 New York Times Best Books of the Year
- 2010 New York Times Notable Book of the Year
- 2010 New York Times Bestseller
- 2010 Time Magazine's Best Books of the Year
- 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award, finalist
- 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, finalist
- The Pulitzer Prizes. "The 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners General Nonfiction". Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- "Indian doc's book on cancer wins Pulitzer Prize". Times of India (Boston). April 19, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- "An Oncologist Writes 'A Biography Of Cancer'". Fresh Air from WHYY (NPR). November 17, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- Okie, Susan (November 28, 2010). "Review: "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer," by Siddhartha Mukherjee". Denver Post. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
- McGrath, Charles (8 November 2010). "How Cancer Acquired Its Own Biographer". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
- Joanna Bourke (10 October 2011). "2011 Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist". The Lancet. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- The Riddle of Cancer Relapse: The Cancer Sleeper Cell, By Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times, October 29, 2010. Mukherjee's New York Times Magazine article based on his book.
- The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer on Open Library at the Internet Archive
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