Heartening and moving stories, in truth, of people who have been cured of cancer--with strong suggestions as to why they made it. Pepper began looking into the subject after a brother did not make it; interviews with former patients at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, lightly interspersed with comments from staff members, make up the work. The accounts are grouped by five factors that appeared to Pepper to be ""determinant"": ""being loved, or loving--in any form""; ""holding on to a sense of self-determination. . . taking an active part in the treatment at risk of appearing overly anxious, difficult, or downright mean""; being needed by others--or having ""unsettled accounts""; luck; and getting the best treatment, necessarily at a comprehensive treatment center. As patients pointed out, the importance of individual factors depends on the stage of the disease and its treatment. But, most important, he lets them tell their own stories--eloquently and at length, without diminishing the ordeal of treatment, or hyping and cheapening their victory. A teenager reports his encounter with death: ""It was like I could see myself laying there, and I looked really bad. . . I had a terrible stench about me. . . my arms were bruised with holes, my eyes sunk in, I was pale like a ghost--and then I saw this man sitting next to me. . . I said to myself, 'No one dies at my age. Who dies at fourteen? I wanted to die older, so I showed him that I didn't want to go with him.'"" Cured cancer patients, says one of them, ""are like all other people--only more so."" The stories would have been enough; in searching out the reasons for survival, Pepper gives readers a bonus.