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The ghost map : the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world
2006
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"An account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London--and an exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease in cities. In the summer of 1854, a devastating cholera outbreak seized London just as it was emerging as a modern city: more than 2 million people packed into a ten-mile circumference, a hub of travel and commerce, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that's outdated as soon as it's updated. Author Johnson chronicles Snow's day-by-dayefforts as he risked his own life to prove how the epidemic was being spread. When he created the map that traced the pattern of outbreak back to its source, Dr. Snow didn't just solve a pressing medical riddle--he 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.--From publisher description."--From source other than the Library of CongressA chronicle of Victorian London's worst cholera outbreak traces the day-by-day efforts of Dr. John Snow, who put his own life on the line in his efforts to prove his previously dismissed contagion theory about how the epidemic was spreading. - (Baker & Taylor)

A historical chronicle of Victorian London's worst cholera outbreak traces the day-by-day efforts of Dr. John Snow, who put his own life on the line in his efforts to prove his previously dismissed contagion theory about how the epidemic was spreading. 80,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

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.



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- (Penguin Putnam)

Author Biography

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.

- (Penguin Putnam)

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Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ More than two million people were squeezed into 30 square miles in Victorian London, producing massive quantities of waste that, before modern public waste disposal systems, fouled both land and the Thames River. Indeed, Johnson says, "No extended description of London from that period failed to mention the stench of the city." Some, called miasmatists, believed foul odors caused disease. Many believed the lifestyles of the poor and ignorant masses made them more susceptible to illness. Thus, in late summer of 1854, when cholera began claiming poor -working-class residents of the Golden Square neighborhood, popular opinion blamed the city's excavation of a nearby burial ground. But Dr. John Snow, an anesthesia expert and consultant to the queen, and the Reverend Henry Whitehead thought the pathogen might have a different source. Their dogged efforts soon ended the deadly epidemic. They demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae had been contracted by drinking contaminated water from the neighborhood pump. In the short run, Snow and Whitehead saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. In the long run, their work, part of which consisted of mapping the disease's spread, resulted in efficient public waste disposal systems and disease control measures that saved millions worldwide. And that work is hardly done. ((Reviewed October 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Table of Contents

Preface xv
Monday, August 28
THE NIGHT-SOIL MEN
1(24)
Saturday, September 2
EYES SUNK, LIPS DARK BLUE
25(32)
Sunday, September 3
THE INVESTIGATOR
57(24)
Monday, September 4
THAT IS TO SAY, JO HAS NOT YET DIED
81(30)
Tuesday, September 5
ALL SMELL IS DISEASE
111(28)
Wednesday, September 6
BUILDING THE CASE
139(20)
Friday, September 8
THE PUMP HANDLE
159(32)
Conclusion
THE GHOST MAP
191(40)
Epilogue
BROAD STREET REVISITED
231(26)
Author's Note 257(1)
Acknowledgments 258(2)
Appendix: Notes on Further Reading 260(3)
Notes 263(22)
Bibliography 285(6)
Index 291

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