The Great Secret: The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer

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Product Details

$27.95  $25.99
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.2 X 1.4 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Jennet Conant is the author, most recently, of Fierce Ambition. Her other books include the New York Times best-selling Tuxedo Park, 109 East Palace, The Irregulars, The Great Secret, and the critically acclaimed Man of the Hour. She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.


In a history that reads like a novel, Conant connects the 1943 bombing by the Nazis of an American ship containing banned mustard gas to the development of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment.--An Editors' Choice of the New York Times Book Review
[A] compelling narrative.... fascinating.--Laura Landro
Engrossing.... Convey[s] a fast-paced medical detective story that demonstrates how careful scientific observation can yield unexpected benefits and serves as a reminder of the difficult choices made by governments to balance public health and secrecy in matters of security.--Peter Reczek
With a keen understanding of medical science, cancer, and the history of World War II, as well as an amazing range of sources, Conant dramatically illuminates a dark moment in history that eventually led to the medical breakthrough of chemotherapy.
Few writers are better at finding new paths through the well-worn territory of World War II than historian Jennet Conant.... Conant delights in the devilish details, the hidden, overlooked, and deeply personal stories that constitute our collective historical record. In her deft and experienced hands, readers will discover great delight as well.--Jessica Lahey
The Great Secret is a ripping good yarn, jam-packed with marvelous prose, wonderful historical characters, and superb research on a little-known but critical chapter in the history of medicine and the Second World War. I could not put this book down until I reached the final page.--Howard Markel, MD, PhD, director of the Center for the History of Medicine, University of Michigan