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What Is "The Emperor of All Maladies"?

Published in 2010 by Simon & Schuster, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of

Cancer combines Siddhartha Mukherjee's personal narratives about his experiences as a

hematology/oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, together with a thoughtful

history of cancer, its research, and its treatment.  According to to the author, the book was

written in response to the behests of a patient, but one of his acknowledged influences for

Emperor of All Maladies is Randy Schiltz's groundbreaking 1980s chronicle of the HIV/

A.I.D.S epidemic, And the Band Played On.

Upon its release, Dr. Mukherjee's book received instant acclaim.  The Oprah Magazine listed

Emperor of All Maladies in its Top 10.  The New York Times soon followed suit, and Time

Magazine named Emperor of All Maladies as one of the "Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2010,"

and later among the one hundred most influential books since 1910.  In 2011, The Emperor

of All Maladies: A History of Cancer was nominated as a National Book Critics Circle Award

finalist, and on April 18, 2011, the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction was awarded to

Mukherjee's book, followed by PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award in 2011.

Since then, The Emperor of All Maladies has been reprinted and translated into a number of

foreign language editions, including Chinese, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Slovenian, and

Greek.  Reviews of the book continue to be unabashed acclamations of, both, Dr.

Mukherjee's humanitarian passion and his relatable "biography" approach to the topic,

turning what is often considered a forbiddingly dense topic into a lush, literary style of

memoirs about cancer.  Publisher's Weekly described Siddhartha Mukherjee's biography of

cancer as "a sweeping epic of obsession, brilliant researchers, dramatic new treatments,

euphoric success and tragic failure, and the relentless battle by scientists and patients alike

against an equally relentless, wily, and elusive enemy." The New Yorker heralded the book

as "An extraordinary achievement." 

Foreign Language Editions

El emperador de todos los males: Una biografia del Cancer. Trans. Roberto Serrai.

(Spanish) Taurus, 2012.

จักรพรรดิแห่งโรคร้าย ชีวประวัติโรคมะเร็ง. Trans. สุนันทา วรรณสินธ์. (Thai) มติชน, 2013.

Kralj vseh bolezni: biografija raka. Trans. Lili Potpara. (Slovenian) Modrijan, 2012.

O Imperador de Todos Os Males. Trans. Berilo Vargas. (Portuguese) Companhia das Letras,


Der König aller Krankheiten—Krebs " eine Biografie. Trans. Fritz Pleitgen (German) Dumont

Buchverlag, 2012

Der König aller Krankheiten—Krebs " eine Biografie. Trans. Barbara Schaden.  New York:

Scribner, 2011.

L'imperatore del male. Una biografia del cancro. Trans. Roberto Serrai. (Italian) Neri Pozza,


Wan bing zhi wang. Trans. Anqi Zhuang. (Chinese) Shi Bao Chu Ban/Tsai Fong Books,


Zhong bing zhi wang: Ai zheng zhuan. Trans. Hu Li (Chinese) Zhong xin chu ban she, 2013.

Manbyeongeui hwangjaeeui yeogsa. Trans. Lee Han Eum (Korean) Kachi Geulbang, 2011.

Keiseren over alle sykdommer: kreftens biografi. Trans. Mie Hidle (Norwegian) Oslo Press,


De keizer aller ziektes : een biografie van kanker. Trans. Pon Ruiter; Henny Corver. (Dutch)

De Bezige Bij, 2011.

Tüm hastalıkların şahı : kanserin biyografisi. Trans. Zeynep Arık Tozar (Turkish) Domingo,


I megali astheneia / η μεγάλη ασθένεια. (Greek) Metaichmio, 2006.

Supplemental Texts and Guides

Behind the Story. The Emperor of All Maladies - Behind the Story (A Book Companion).

Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013

Sherman, Fraser. Quicklet on Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A

Biography of Cancer. Hyperink, 2012.

BookRags, ed. Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Summary Guide. Amazon

Digital Services, Inc., 2012.

BookRags, ed. Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Lesson Plans. Amazon

Digital Services, Inc., 2012.