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Showing 1-10 of 274 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 451 reviews
on September 10, 2017
Further proof that science beats superstition every time.
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on September 4, 2017
This is only half a book. The story about understanding how two people figure out how Cholera was transmitted in a small neighborhood in London is well told but ends abruptly and then jumps 150 years into the future and somehow dissembles on urban life in NY during the Bloomberg Administration. Surely the scourge of Cholera deserves a more thorough accounting.
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on September 3, 2017
This was an interesting book but hard to read as the author tried to cover too many topics of disasters. After awhile I just couldn't keep up with it.
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on August 22, 2017
I loved this book. Johnson's writing style keeps the story in "history", and wonderfully connects cartography as a tool for solving real-time mysteries both in 19th century London and anywhere today. It is a fun, smart read. Check it out :).
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on July 18, 2017
This book was an amazing read, i am a high school freshman so that means a lot coming from me. But if you intend to read it read the prologue and epilogue as well.
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on June 29, 2017
Arrived in great condition
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on June 6, 2017
This is one of the most disappointing books I've ever purchased. I am a fan of epidemiological case studies and historical accounts, but this book falls short. It reads like a research paper with no citations. The author repeatedly puts forth questionable theories (musings?) as reasons why the characters in the book think or do things a certain way, or why diseases spread in a particular manner, and spends a lot of time repeating himself and re-explaining his claims. The tone overall is very lecture-y. I can't believe this book received so many positive reviews. Perhaps if you don't have a background in science the questionable nature of the explanations in this book would be less obvious, but it just didn't work for me.
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on May 31, 2017
This would be a five star book if the last 30 pages hadn't drifted into a conversation on nuclear weapons that is only tangentially related to the book itself. Anyone who has ever taken an epidemiology class has heard of John Snow and the Broad Street Pump, but this was a much more detailed account. In the same spirit of the Microbe Hunters, Steven Johnson puts his readers in the mind of the subjects. The quotes are real the thoughts inferred, but the story comes to life in a way a more traditional biographical or timeline approach can never do. Whether you care about cholera outbreaks in Victorian London or not, this is an interesting story about two determined men, public health, and how much city life has and hasn't changed.
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on May 27, 2017
Excellent reading for those who want to know about how pandemic tracking & initial GIS mapping occurred. Well written👍🏻
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on May 13, 2017
The primary text of this book is exceptional. I'm constantly fascinated by how much we didn't know back in the day (e.g., thinking that evil spirits spread disease through the air, using leeches to "cure" disease, and not burning witches at the stake provided that they didn't come up from the bottom of the river but instead drowned), which of course lends itself to the more contemporary question, "What don't we know now?" Probably a whole helluva lot.

Johnson does a great job of tying together the disparate threads of two men who are trying to solve a cholera epidemic in 1854 London. Despite their completely opposite views of the world (one is a scientist, the other a clergyman), they share a common goal: saving the working class from gruesome, guaranteed death at the behest of a terrible and fast-acting disease. Books only occasionally force me to change my view of the world, but this one did. It forced me to reconsider my opinion of the clergy, in the form of Henry Whitehead. He epitomizes the religious ideals of compassion and service to others, and without the expectation of anything in return.

I read this book in about a day and couldn't put it down. This is a fascinating and well-written book. The only part I didn't like was the Epilogue. Another review I read some time ago described the Epilogue as something akin to a doctoral dissertation outline that was tacked on to the end of the book. I have to agree. With its focus on carbon footprints and eco-sensitivity, it was not clearly connected to the book itself, and frankly, had almost no relevance. One can skip the Epilogue completely and not even no that anything was missed. Because it wasn't. I'd give this book 4 stars if I were forced to consider the Epilogue as part of the book.
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