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Starred Review. On August 28, 1854, working-class Londoner Sarah Lewis tossed a bucket of soiled water into the cesspool of her squalid apartment building and triggered the deadliest outbreak of cholera in the city's history. In this tightly written page-turner, Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You) uses his considerable skill to craft a story of suffering, perseverance and redemption that echoes to the present day. Describing a city and culture experiencing explosive growth, with its attendant promise and difficulty, Johnson builds the story around physician John Snow. In the face of a horrifying epidemic, Snow (pioneering developer of surgical anesthesia) posited the then radical theory that cholera was spread through contaminated water rather than through miasma, or smells in the air. Against considerable resistance from the medical and bureaucratic establishment, Snow persisted and, with hard work and groundbreaking research, helped to bring about a fundamental change in our understanding of disease and its spread. Johnson weaves in overlapping ideas about the growth of civilization, the organization of cities, and evolution to thrilling effect. From Snow's discovery of patient zero to Johnson's compelling argument for and celebration of cities, this makes for an illuminating and satisfying read. B&w illus. (Oct.)
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In books such as Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, Steven Johnson neatly draws connections between seemingly unconnected aspects of lifethink of James Burke in the digital age. The Ghost Map is no different in applying a 21st-century sensibility to a 19th-century cholera epidemic. According to critics, Johnson makes a single tactical error in the last pages, where he attempts to link the events he describes to too many other contemporary historical trends while ignoring some real-world realities. Regardless, the story is in capable hands, and the lives of individuals and a culture on the cusp of technological and medical advance resonates with readers 150 years later.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Very interesting history of disease investigations and the publics' and "scientists" of the time ideas. Well written. Read morePublished 11 hours ago by Star
This is one of the most fascinating books I've read. It unfolds like a great detective story. Highly recommended!Published 10 days ago by Rpaul Herman
Very well written and detailed account of the cholera outbreak in London related to the Broad Street Pump. Factual yet entertaining.Published 15 days ago by L. Debiasi
I read this book for school. It was unlike any book that I've ever read before, so I was really surprised when I read it. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Taryn N Brown
“What in the world can we do with all of this s***?” That was the question of the day for two million 19th century Londoners. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Kurlylocs
A bit odd to love a book about plagues, but "The Ghost Map" is so much more. Interesting sociological study of London in the mid-1800;s, excellent development of the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Genna Brown
This is a fascinating story and the author tells it well. His picture of Victorian London is so vivid, it's not likely to leave the reader for a long time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brenda Brown