The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.
Cancer’s life is a recapitulation of the body’s life, its existence a pathological mirror of our own.Down to their innate molecular core, cancer cells are hyperactive, survival-endowed, scrappy, fecund, inventive copies of ourselves.
This is just a fine book. It is full of solid information that is easy to read and understand, and it makes sense of cancer’s often mistaken history. Although the language is simple, the ideas never are. Mukherjee never talks down to his audience.
He weaves the stories of patients through the story of cancer itself from the ancient notion that it was caused by the bubbling up of excess black bile to our emerging understanding of molecular biology.
You can listen a Science and the City podcast interview with Siddhartha Mukherjee from the New York Academy about how he wrote the book.
Enjoy. I am!