Emperor of all maladies

8094 words 33 pages
Praise for

The Emperor of All Maladies
“A compulsively readable, surprisingly uplifting, and vivid tale. thrilling .”
—o, t he oprah maga z in e
“[An] essential piece of medical journalism.” —T im e

“A meticulously researched, panoramic history . . . What makes
Mukherjee’s narrative so remarkable is that he imbues decades of painstaking laboratory investigation with the suspense of a mystery novel and urgency of a thriller.” —The Boston Globe

and powerful .”

—San Fr a n c isco C hr on ic le

“remarkable . . . The reader devours this fascinating book . . .

Mukherjee is a clear and determined writer. . . . An unusually humble, insightful book.” —Los An ge le s T im e s
“extraordinary . . . So often
…show more content…

I had initially envisioned writing a journal of that year—a view-from-the-trenches of cancer treatment.
But that quest soon grew into a larger exploratory journey that carried me into the depths not only of science and medicine, but of culture, history, literature, and politics, into cancer’s past and into its future.
Two characters stand at the epicenter of this story—both contemporaries, both idealists, both children of the boom in postwar science and technology in America, and both caught in the swirl of a hypnotic, obsessive quest to launch a national “War on Cancer.” The first is Sidney Farber, xvii Mukherjee_Emperor_i-588_PTR.indd 17

6/22/11 12:59 PM

author’s note the father of modern chemotherapy, who accidentally discovers a powerful anti-cancer chemical in a vitamin analogue and begins to dream of a universal cure for cancer. The second is Mary Lasker, the Manhattan socialite of legendary social and political energy, who joins Farber in his decades-long journey. But Lasker and Farber only exemplify the grit, imagination, inventiveness, and optimism of generations of men and women who have waged a battle against cancer for four thousand years.
In a sense, this is a military history—one in which the adversary is formless, timeless, and pervasive. Here, too,