The Ghost Map takes place in the summer of 1854. A devastating cholera outbreak seizes London just as it is emerging as a modern city: more than two million people packed into a 10-mile circumference, a hub of travel and commerce, teeming with people from all over the world, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that's outdated as soon as it's updated. Dr. John Snow, whose ideas about contagion had been dismissed by the scientific community, is spurred to intense action when the people in his neighborhood begin dying. With enthralling suspense, Johnson chronicles Snow's day-by-day efforts as he risks his own life to prove how the epidemic is being spread.
From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E.O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting story with a real-life historical hero. It brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a true triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking for which he's become famous. This is a book that, like the work of Jared Diamond, presents both vivid history and a powerful and provocative explanation of what it means for the world we live in.
©2006 Steven Johnson; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc.
"An illuminating and satisfying read." (Publishers Weekly)
"A formidable gathering of small facts and big ideas." (New York Times Book Review)
This is a fascinating look at Victorian London through the lens of public sanitation and the state of scientific thinking at the time.
I find it ironic that the author condemns the fake science practiced by those who believed in the Miasma theory but praises the fake science of global warming. The story is good but the epilogue is a liberal manifesto and contributes nothing in telling the story of John Snow. The epilogue doesn't feel like it belongs in the book so read everything except for it.
This book was terrible and was the worst book I ever read in my life . If you are thinking about reading this crappy thing that should've never have been published don't read it . The story was pointless and I also couldn't pay attention to the story because it didn't have a moral or any main characters to follow .
Thank you for making me read this awful book ( summer reading )
Interesting story about the cholera epidemic in London in the mid 1800's and the source discovery. Sometimes wanders into other supporting details to the extreme. But core story an interesting one.
As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.
Not just a story about a cholera outbreak, but a glimpse into life in mid-1800 London. While we walked the streets searching for the cause of the disease, we also learned little bits of side-bar worthy information such as the hierarchy of medical professionals at that time and the early use of anesthesia in surgery and childbirth. The story was over and I still had two hours left. The last two hours were really worth the book, in my opinion. It gave me a new perspective on modern city living.
Well written in a nice narrative style, it reads like a bio-terrorist thriller. It also prompted a very lively book group discussion.
This book meets that fine line where history becomes a fascinating story without surrendering academic quality. This is an excellent book for any one curious about the history of epidemiology, urban development, or even just a picture into how frightening the world of the not so distant past really was...
I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. The beginning is captivating. The historical content is grasping. The studies of demographics, socio-graphics, map making, and science are interesting.
My favorite characters are the people living in these Victorian times. I enjoyed the insight of the daily life.
He seems to have a dry sense of humor that creeps in every once in a while.
I did want to listen to it all in one sitting but it's too long.
diarrhea... cha cha cha... diarrhea
Diseases can be so interesting. This book takes you on a trip back to Victorian London where people dumped crap in their basements, threw buckets of it out the window and let it sit around in open cesspools.
The story starts with a sick baby's soiled diapers and goes on to describe how Baby Lewis' waste infected water from the Broad Street Pump and killed an enormous amount of people in eight days. Dr. John Snow and the Rev. Henry Whitehead started on two separate paths to solve the mystery as to what was killing the population and ended up combining their efforts to produce a treatise on the dangers of contaminated water.
I loved the description of people who made their living collecting poo and how this process is good for society in general. The most boring part was when the author recited every question that was listed in the Board of Public Health questionnaire.
The last chapter is dedicated to what the cholera outbreak in London has to do with us now and for our future. That part is very scary.
This tale of John Snow, a researcher who sought the cause of a massive and lethal outbreak of what would ultimately be known as Cholera, in 1850s England, does a fine job of illustrating life and the habits that led to the outbreak, as well as the fear and helplessness of people who lived whilst the scourge was underway. Snow's dogged efforts to locate the origins and "map" the outbreak, as well as his frustrations with public officials, who were slow to move away from erroneous, but more accepted, ideas about the source of cholera, have shaped public health policies for growing cities since. He also helped devise early anesthesia at a time when surgeons worked without it. Given a 4 (4.5 really) for the story because the conclusion gets a bit long. Still, this work is very interesting and we all owe much to Mr. Snow, especially when we sip a refreshing glass of water from the tap.
I loved that Mr. Snow's work was validated by other scientists. It also was pretty amazing to see someone focus so fully on stopping this disease.
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