The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
There is one book that I measure all medical history books against and that is Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, which details Dr Mukherjee’s experience as an oncologist against the background of the history of cancer. It won various awards, including a Pulitzer Prize (you can’t get too much better than that!)
Now, I am reading his fourth book, The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human and I am just as enthralled with it as I was with his first book on cancer. Dr Mukherjee takes us through the discovery and description of the cell. I was familiar with most of the history, but I still found his lyrical descriptions to be captivating.
The whole book isn’t just a historical retrospective as he also discusses his (and his colleagues’) experiments into cell physiology.
Dr Mukherjee is amazing storyteller. He takes complex subjects and explains them in such a way that even those who don’t have a scientific background will enjoy the ride. As I read the book, I recognized a description that I had read in another book I had reviewed, Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive by Philipp Dettmer; it turns out that Dr Mukherjee cited Dettmer’s book in his notes section. Since Dettmer’s book was one of the best I’d read this year, I was pleased to see it included.
The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human is highly recommended for both the novice and expert in cellular biology. You won’t be disappointed.
[Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the advanced ebook copy in exchange for my honest and objective opinion which I have given here.]