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The Ghost Map
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The Ghost Map

4.5 4
by Steven Johnson
 

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From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E. O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner with a real-life historical hero that brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Steven Johnson

Overview

From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E. O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner with a real-life historical hero that brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Steven Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a true triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking for which he's become famous-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.

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 2 million people packed into a ten-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and commerce, teeming with people from all over the world, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that's outdated as soon as it's updated.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.

When he creates the map that traces the pattern of outbreak back to its source, Dr. Snow didn't just solve the most pressing medical riddle of his time. He ultimately established a precedent for the way modern city-dwellers, city planners, physicians, and public officials think about the spread of disease and the development of the modern urban environment.

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.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594489259
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/31/2006
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Steven Johnson is the author of the national bestsellers Everything Bad Is Good for You and Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life, as well as Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software and Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate.

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The Ghost Map 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Follows a cholera epidemic in London through a doctor and a minister. Interesting but at times I had to re-read parts to understand what he was explaining. I liked the research of the doctor and the minister to track down where the cholera started and to keep it from spreading or recurring. Also enjoyed how their theories changed as they delved more into the spread of the disease. I'm glad I did not live then.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a gripping account of intelligent work, Johnson has written the Ghost Map with suspense, intrigue and scientific accuracy. A great book for anyone interested in science, large cities of the past or anyone who just likes to read a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Ghost Map Steven Johnson Riverhead Book New York October 2006 The Ghost Map is a page-turner with a real-life historical hero that brilliantly illuminates the histories of the spread of viruses, rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Steven Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking that changes the way we think today. 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 2 million people packed into a ten-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. When he creates the map that traces the pattern of outbreak back to its source, Dr. Snow didn't just solve the most pressing medical riddle of his time. He ultimately established a precedent for the way modern city-dwellers, city planners, physicians, and public officials think about the spread of disease and the development of the modern urban environment. When I finished the book I found out so many different things about science and some history. I learned about the cholera outbreak and how it seized London. It was interesting to learn how one man could change a lot of people¿s lives. I recommend that you read it because it is an interesting and lets you know that Dr. John Snow changed people¿s lives and made a map to find the source of it. It¿s a great book and I think everybody should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing! This was not only science and history, but also a compelling story. Johnson is able to guide the reader throughout the book, making the reader seem as if they are actually in that situation. Steven Johnson organized this book in a very clear way, by first introducing cholera, then using detectives to ¿solve¿ the epidemic and finally ending with the bigger picture of society and its future. This book clearly illustrates the positive and negative effects any epidemic can have. Though it may seem as if cholera only affected the people, it also influenced history, science and medicine. It was very easy for me to read because I had just finished covering the plague in medieval history class. Just like cholera, it was believed to be caused by a substance in air. The plague has amazing similarities with Cholera, and by reading this book, I further learned how devastating any epidemic can be. I also learned that though epidemics indeed had negative affects as a whole, it contributed to the development of science and medicine. I extremely enjoyed this book.