- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (October 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594482691
- ISBN-13: 978-1594482694
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 512 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Paperback – October 2, 2007
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“Fascinating.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Vivid.” —The New Yorker
“Thought-provoking.” —Entertainment Weekly
“By turns a medical thriller, detective story, and paean to city life, Johnson's account of the outbreak and its modern implications is a true page-turner.” —The Washington Post
“Marvelous... as was Dava Sobel's Longitude. Yet The Ghost Map is a far more ambitious and compelling work... Mr. Johnson is never less than lively and beguiling.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Steven Johnson tells the tale with verve, spicing his narrative with scenes of Dickensian squalor and the vibrant street life surrounding that squalor. But in Johnson's hands, The Ghost Map morphs into something more than mere history.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Johnson adds a new and welcome element—old-fashioned storytelling flair... to his fractal, multifaceted method of unraveling the scientific mysteries of everyday life.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Steven Johnson gives us history at its best: colorful, connected and compelling. At the core is a medical mystery, or what today would be called an epidemiological detective story... A masterpiece of historical writing.” —The Seattle Times
“This is more than a great detective story. It's the triumph of reason and evidence over superstition and theory, and Johnson tells it in loving detail.” —Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of eleven books, including Where Good Ideas Come From, Wonderland, and The Ghost Map. He's the host and co-creator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got To Now, and the host of the podcast American Innovations. He lives in Brooklyn and Marin County, California with his wife and three sons.
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The description of the disposal of human bodies and graveyards in general makes one wonder why cremation was not widespread.
Concerning Johnson's discussion of the scavengers in third world countries, in America, in the 21st Century we still have people who make their living scavenging the streets, highways and dumpsters for metal, such as aluminum cans.
It's interesting that Dr. Snow and the Rev. Whitehead actually interviewed people in the cholera infected areas. The aristocracy generally had no interest in the underclasses.
All in all, The Ghost Map is a document celebrating the triumph of the scientific method versus "everybody knows".
Read it. You may learn something.
Since this book was published in 2006, some sections are now dated.
Opening the pages of this most impressive account of sleuthing the source of the cholera outbreak was simply fascinating. Reverend Henry Whitehead and Dr. John Snow, two strangers of different backgrounds, joined together by circumstance shared valuable information and expertise. Independently each spent countless of hours interviewing, recording, and analyzing all collected data. The scientific mind of Dr. Snow compiled a map indicating the location and number of deaths therein. Whitehead as a trusted, respected local was key in turning the made up minds of city agencies who stubbornly clung to the idea the disease originated in the foul, smelly air to accepting the actual catalyst for the outbreak.
This is really an outstanding detective story very well told. A history lesson if you will. The facts, players and uncanny elusiveness of this indiscriminate killer called cholera progressed systematically without the bog down of boring statistics. The author skillfully carries history into our modern times with glimpses into our foreseeable future. A notable writing achievement.