When I first heard about Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies (Scribner, Nov.; see Author Profile, p. 24) I was wary of its subject—as if knowing more about cancer would somehow make me more vulnerable to this frightening disease. But as soon as I began this astonishing narrative, I realized how necessary and fascinating it would be. We might yet master cancer, but understanding its behavior through the prism of human life is crucial to progress. Mukherjee masterfully distills centuries of research to deliver an ambitious and inspiring record of the disease. We sense through the writing his care, respect, and gratitude for cancer victims and survivors. We are able to experience as visceral a witnessing as possible, and the taboo about the subject of cancer crumbles under his scholarship and artistry. This is a landmark publication, a seminal text of great depth and scope that will offer to laymen and specialists a fundamental re-appraisal of this illness.