The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

4.0 1
by Steven Johnson, Alan Sklar
     
 

A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world.

The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of 1854, from the microbial level to

See more details below

Overview

A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world.

The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of 1854, from the microbial level to the macrourban-theory level-including, most important, the human level.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Compelling...an illuminating and satisfying read." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
David Quammen
It’s fascinating to read that because of the life history of Vibrio cholerae, which circulates in water flowing from one human gut to another, the bacterium never caused big trouble in Britain until crowded urban conditions exposed people to drinking one another’s sewage. But Johnson’s account of the 1854 epidemic, along with the meditation on cities that he extrapolates from it, doesn’t need to call attention to its own cleverness. The Ghost Map is elegantly sufficient, without that, to get readers to do some thinking on their own.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

The idiosyncratic thinker and cultural historian Johnson leaps from trumpeting video games (in his previous book Everything Bad Is Good for You) to uncovering the history of murderous cholera infestations in London and the scientific research that revealed the microbial origins of the outbreaks. Sklar reads Johnson's engaging book with a deep, measured baritone that is the embodiment of solidly backed reasonability. Sklar makes each word sound as if it has been chipped into a block of marble, there to rest for all eternity. This is not always conducive to following the flow of Johnson's narrative, but Sklar does well with his voice what Johnson seeks to do with his book: insert a slip into the history book, adding the mundane deaths of working souls and the audacious efforts of scientists into the story of the European march of progress. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 21). (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
An account of how Dr. John Snow solved a medical mystery by tracking cholera's spread through Victorian London. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An intrepid doctor and an enlightened minister pursue a cholera outbreak to its lair in 1850s London. It's in the water, not the air. This was the discovery that young Dr. John Snow presented to skeptical public-health officials, who were committed to the prevailing, centuries-old theory that foul odors carry disease. As Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You, 2005, etc.) ably shows, London in 1854 was indeed a stinky city containing much fecal matter from people and animals, as well as waste from manufacturers. It was the waste from a single infected infant, however, that got into the water supply near the popular Broad Street pump in Soho and empowered Vibrio cholerae to kill hundreds. Johnson recounts how Dr. Snow and "affable clergyman" Henry Whitehead walked the streets, first independently and then in concert, to determine who was dying, who was surviving-and where. Snow's map charting the dimensions of the outbreak, avers Johnson, did not have an immediate effect (other than convincing officials to remove the pump handle, a decision that saved hundreds, maybe thousands), but it has had an enduring one. Science, not superstition, battled a disease, and in the ensuing years, public officials took steps to prevent another outbreak by building the vast sewer system that continues to function in London. In addition to telling the story of the outbreak, Johnson offers mini-lessons on related topics: how cholera kills, how Victorian London dealt with its messes, how and why people cling to false theories. He devotes the final 70 pages to a paean to cities and an assessment of the principal threats to their continuation. He notes that metropolises in developing countries face enormouspublic-health problems, and he worries about terrorists armed with weaponized viruses and/or nuclear weapons. Lively and educative. Agent: Lydia Wills/Writers & Artists, East Coast

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400152988
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
11/13/2006
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >