One in Three: A Son's Journey into the History and Science of Cancer

One in Three: A Son's Journey into the History and Science of Cancer

by Adam Wishart
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

“Calming and illuminating . . . A story more gripping than frightening.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Writer and documentary director Adam Wishart’s poignant and timely book on cancer is the first of its kind—a seamless blend of memoir and medical history that simultaneously explains science in an elegant, non-intimidating

Overview

“Calming and illuminating . . . A story more gripping than frightening.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Writer and documentary director Adam Wishart’s poignant and timely book on cancer is the first of its kind—a seamless blend of memoir and medical history that simultaneously explains science in an elegant, non-intimidating way and connects to the experience of being a patient. When his father was diagnosed with cancer, Wishart couldn’t find a book that answered his most basic questions: What was the disease and how did it take hold? What is it about cancer’s biology that makes it hard to eradicate? Are we to a cure? One in Three is a son’s personal and journalistic take on cancer’s history and the encouraging story of science’s progress in changing the outlook on cancer from a disease we die from to one we live with, providing the full account of the discovery of the disease, its treatment, and its prevention. Wishart’s candid discussion of his personal link to cancer is ultimately a story of hope, and one in which we may all find comfort. One in three of us will develop cancer. This book will help us to understand it without fear.

Editorial Reviews

This book was written to fill the author's personal need: When his father was struck with cancer, writer/documentary director Adam Wishart searched without success for a single volume that would answer his most basic questions about the disease. One in Three is that book. In addition to describing cancer's biology, treatments, and prospects for cure, Wishart's odyssey interleaves poignant stories of his father's battle with this modern scourge. The title derives from the ratio of Americans diagnosed with cancer.
Janet Maslin
One in Three has plenty of anecdotal vigor. It’s a fine book for those who did not know that there is evidence of cancer in a million-year-old African jawbone, or that an Egyptian papyrus from 1600 B.C. describes tumors of the leg. Yet cancer had relatively minor impact throughout much of human history, partly because average life spans were too short for it to develop as widely as it does now, and partly because taboos about the body made anatomical research impossible. The book cites the time when one of the best sources of medical information was gladiators’ wounds.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Wishart's title refers to the number of people who will be diagnosed with cancer and his belief that we need to stop talking about the disease in hushed whispers as it becomes something "to live with rather than only die from." Wishart (Leaving Reality Behind), a British TV director and producer, juxtaposes an unflinching account of his father's diagnosis and treatment with a wider look at cancer research. The constant shuttling between past and present has the unfortunate effect of disrupting the emotional momentum of the Wishart family's struggle. Miniportraits of cancer research activists like Mary Lasker and Penny Brohn tell an important story, but never fully mesh with the scenes of the father's slow decline. Individual moments from the personal saga, as when Wishart's father reads a newspaper in a hospital bed because books have become too heavy for his weakened arms, have strong emotional resonance, but too often, when Wishart manages to hook readers into the drama, he veers off into another historical digression. Either narrative strand could have been an effective book in its own right; in putting them together, Wishart hasn't quite created an integrated whole. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
London-based documentary filmmaker Wishart (Leaving Reality Behind, 2003) weaves his father's story into a medical history that traces cancer from its earliest appearance to the present hopes for a cure. The author knew little about the causes, biology and treatment of cancer when his father was diagnosed in 2002. His informative book contains answers to many questions about a disease that touches the lives of one person in three. His father's first surgery introduces an account of the 1831 removal of a tumor before the advent of anesthetics; the subsequent medical examination of Wishart Sr.'s tumor is linked to the pioneering work of 19th-century pathologist Rudolf Virchow. Throughout, the author similarly embeds the moving personal story of his father's diagnosis and treatment within scientific material introducing researchers and lobbyists for cancer research, showing the political and social climate in which they worked. (Portraits of Marie Curie and Mary Lasker are particularly notable.) Wishart shatters myths about cancer's causes and explores the risks and benefits of drugs. Modern science's inability to save his father's life leads to a discussion of alternative medicine and a description of the hospice movement; the discovery from an autopsy that his father's primary cancer was in his prostate leads him to speculate about his own genetic inheritance and possible risk. The final chapter, making use of Wishart's research into cancer, is a history of his father's illness, beginning with the mutation of a single cell in the prostate and ending with its multiplication and inevitable spread throughout the body. An epilogue expresses measured optimism: The genetic revolution andadvances in molecular biology, he writes, offer hope for improvements in diagnosis and treatment that will eventually make cancer something we live with rather than die from. A loving portrait of one man and an accessible account of what cancer is, where research and treatment are now and how they got there.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555848873
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/26/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Adam Wishart is an-award-winning British television producer and director who also has written for The Times, New Scientist, Guardian, and the Independent. He is the author of a book about the dotcom industry, Leaving Reality Behind, and lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >