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The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

The Cancer Chronicles

About the book

Published by The Bodley Head

When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, George Johnson set out to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who spend their careers trying to understand and to fight it. What he discovered is a revolution under way—an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from.

Deftly excavating and illuminating decades of investigation and analysis, rooted in every discipline from evolutionary biology to game theory and physics, Johnson explores what we know—and what we still don’t—about cancer, and why a cure remains such a slippery goal. Throughout his pursuit, Johnson clarifies the human experience of cancer with grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies, and other treatments. Through Johnson’s radiant prose and authoritative perspective on science, he takes us on an adventure through the history and recent advances in cancer research that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease.

Read the first chapter (PDF)

About the author

George Johnson writes regularly about science for the New York Times. He has also written for National Geographic, Slate, Discover, Scientific American, Wired, and the Atlantic, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. A former Alicia Patterson fellow, he has received awards from PEN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his books were twice finalists for the Royal Society’s book prize. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The judges said:

A wonderful and yet very sad book. It weaves together an immense amount of detail on this devastating disease with a very personal and touching story.