Any author will tell you how incredibly difficult it is to get your books reviewed. When Betrayed by Nature came out I was lucky because it received a number of very good write ups (and no critical ones!). Even so, it’s still a case of the more the merrier and I’m delighted to include this recent one from Professor Richard Christopherson in Sydney – not least because new recruits to this blog may find it helpful if, for some inexplicable reason, they are hesitating about stumping up the trivial sum required to secure their very own copy!!
Review: The War on Cancer: Betrayed by Nature
There are not enough books written on Cancer, for the educated layman, as an undergraduate text, or as a review at the cutting edge for researchers. The book written by Robin Hesketh caters to the first group and should increase community understanding of Cancer, a diverse collection of hundreds of different diseases caused by large numbers of mutations in different combinations. We have all seen the headlines in newspapers and magazines, ‘Cancer Breakthrough’, and may have become tired of the way that journalists use this phrase. Hesketh’s book provides excellent coverage of most of the basic issues that relate to Cancer, and should enable laypersons to assess what may be exaggerated claims by journalists.
As a Cancer researcher, I have freely provided interviews about my work and more general issues. If the journalist does not offer to send me the proof of an article for checking before publication, I start to worry. Books such as ‘The War on Cancer’ will help to provide balance in the community’s understanding of the significance of advances in Cancer research. The book has simple diagrams that illustrate basic mechanisms that operate in Cancer, and some black and white photographs. These historical pictures would have been better in colour, but the low cost of the book (US$28) ensures that the information is available for many readers. Cancer is a major cause of death, and patients who wish to gain understanding of their disease could read this book. The level of presentation is relatively simple, but the basic concepts as presented remain correct because Hesketh has been a Cancer researcher.
Prof Richard I. Christopherson
School of Molecular Bioscience
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006