Cancer Chronicles
George Johnson

Book cover image

Narrated By: Arthur Morey

Duration: 8 hours and 18 minutes

What to expect

When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science-writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is that a revolution is now under way – an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from.

He combs through the realms of epidemiology, clinical trials, laboratory experiments and scientific hypotheses, to reveal what we know and don’t know about cancer, showing why a cure remains such a slippery concept. His luminous accounts describe tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body, paleo-oncologists who uncover petrified tumors clinging to the skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient human ancestors, and the surprising reversals in science’s comprehension of the causes of cancer, with the foods we eat and environmental toxins playing a lesser role. Perhaps most fascinating of all is how cancer borrows natural processes involved in the healing of a wound or the unfolding of a human embryo and turns them against the body.

Throughout his pursuit, Johnson illuminates the human experience with elegiac grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies and other treatments. Provocative and intellectually vibrant, The Cancer Chronicles will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease – and provide hope for tomorrow and the future.


Medical research, Popular science, Diseases & disorders

Listen to a sample

Johnson elegantly tells a fascinating chronological tale of cancer

British Journal of General Practice

Compact, elegant...gripping... Everyone who is concerned about cancer – that is every thinking adult – should read The Cancer Chronicles

Charles C. Mann

A highly captivating book that meticulously explains the current scientific understanding of cancer

Times Literary Supplement

A fascinating compilation of selected discoveries in cancer research that helped shape his deeper understanding of the disease process


Rich and sweeping...this is a book for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, which is just about everyone