The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

3.2/5, 3.2 from 9 reviews
  1. Sherri
    An okay book
    3.5/5, 3.5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 27, 2018
    Cancer is a word which terrifies even the strongest person in the world. When a person hears that they have cancer and break the news to their family members and support group, the first thing they hear is, “Our prayers are with you.”

    Mukherjee has tried to demystify the term cancer and present it in a manner which is understandable to all, and for that, I would give him a lot of credit. Frankly, his work is fine. What really hit me is that one cannot count author as an optimistic friend. He professes to wage war and to win it by redefining what can be termed as a victory. Not sure if this is the right approach.

    Secondly, the book is full of dates and lots of collected information. There is a fine art between collecting a lot of data and presenting these in a manner which is interesting and understandable, and the author fails in this regard.

    The third and major issue for me with this book was the complete absence of mentioning Rosalind Franklin, whose work had helped to discover DNA and the way in which we understand genetics now. Mukherjee also did not mention Henrietta Lacks, the person whose cancer cells act as an immortalized and one of the most important cell lines for medical research when it comes to cancer. I felt these people should have been given credit in a book which talks about cancer.

    Lastly, the author does not give too much importance to BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which is present in all human beings and the mutation of which can lead to breast cancer and is a major factor in preventive mastectomy.

    All in all, an okay book.