Despite my uneasiness with DeVita’s take-no-prisoners strategy, I thoroughly enjoyed his book. He gives an authoritative review of the history of surgery and radiation therapy. His depictions of the behind-the-scenes search for new cancer drugs and the turf wars between radiation, surgical and medical oncologists are dishy and fascinating.
If cancer research seems too difficult for nonscientists and too dry for sustained interest, The Death of Cancer should swiftly correct that misapprehension. Written by DeVita with his daughter, science writer Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, this is a surprising and riveting story.
Though the parts of Dr. DeVita’s chronicle that descend into score settling dilute the otherwise powerful effect of his story—many of his targets of attack are dead now and unable to defend themselves—there is no mistaking the value of the core idea he wants to convey...
...Dr. DeVita has produced, with the help of his daughter, an utterly absorbing memoir, fierce and frank. Ears will burn, memories will doubtless differ on a few counts, and even his take on the particulars of cancer treatment may provoke debate. But the average reader will come away from the book with a superb basic education in all things oncological, from events on the cellular level to those in the rooms where research agendas are settled and checks are written.