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

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Riverhead Books, 2006 - History - 299 pages
125 Reviews
A National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year

From Steven Johnson, the dynamic thinker routinely compared to James Gleick, Dava Sobel, and Malcolm Gladwell, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner about a real-life historical hero, Dr. John Snow. It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure -- garbage removal, clean water, sewers -- necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.

In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories and interconnectedness of the spread of disease, contagion theory, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.

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Johnson is a very interesting and far-ranging writer. - Goodreads
Interesting depiction of just how filthy London was. - Goodreads
I would say it was very good historical writing. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Goodreads

Who would have thought a book about poop could be so compelling? Read full review

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

User Review  - Goodreads

Great story about the birth of epidemiology, the power of careful observation, the challenges and benefits of humans living in dense cities. Some nice commentary in the epilogue about the future of humanity as it faces biological and nuclear terrorism. Read full review

About the author (2006)

Steven Johnson is an American popular science writer and media theorist. He was born on June 6, 1968, and grew up in Washington, D.C. He completed his undergraduate degree at Brown University, where he studied semiotics, and later went on to receive his graduate degree in English Literature from Columbia University. Johnson writes mainly on "the intersection of science, technology and personal experience." His most recent work, How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, was the subject of a six-part series on PBS, which he also hosted. His other works include: Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age; Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation; The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution and the Birth of America; and The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic-and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World.

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