The Ghost Map : A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks Paperback
From the bestselling author of "Everything Bad is Good For You", Steven Johnson's "The Ghost Map" vividly recreates Victorian London to show how huge populations live together, how cities can kill - and how they can save us.
Steven Johnson is one of today's most exciting writers about popular culture, urban living and new technology.
In "The Ghost Map" he tells the story of the terrifying cholera epidemic that engulfed London in 1854, and the two unlikely heroes - anesthetist Doctor John Snow and affable clergyman Reverend Henry Whitehead - who defeated the disease through a combination of local knowledge, scientific research and map-making.
In telling their extraordinary story, Steven Johnson also explores a whole world of ideas and connections, from urban terror to microbes, ecosystems to the Great Stink, cultural phenomena to street life. "A wonderful book". ("Mail on Sunday"). "A thumping page-turner". ("Daily Telegraph"). "Enthralling ...vivid and gripping". ("New Statesman"). "Exhilarating". ("Spectator"). "It is a rattling scientific mystery, but in the hands of Steven Johnson it becomes something much richer ...a vast, interconnected picture about urban and bacterial life ...it is difficult to do justice to the exuberance of Johnson's ideas". ("Scotland on Sunday"). Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books "Everything Bad is Good for You", "Mind Wide Open", "Where Good Ideas Come From", "Emergence" and "Interface Culture".
His writing appeared in the "Guardian", the "New Yorker", "Nation" and "Harper's", as well as the op-ed pages of "The New York Times" and the "Wall Street Journal".
He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to "Wired".
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations, maps, ports.
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 31/01/2008
- Category: Social & cultural history
- ISBN: 9780141029368
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by eleanor_eader
Review by TerriBooks
This is a fascinating exploration of a specific outbreak of cholera in 19th century London, that the author uses as a jumping-off to all sorts of more general topics related to it. Middle of the 19th century, and the germ theory of disease had yet to appear... so why do pockets of this awful disease appear? I was intrigued by the idea that the real culprit -- it was spread through the drinking water -- was rejected by most, even in the face of what seems obvious evidence, because the scientists of the time "knew" that disease was spread through miasma (bad air). (How often are we blinded by what we already know?) The chain of cause and effect, the history of urban living and water supplies, and the development of a specific theory for this specific disease are told in a way that grabs attention and makes you want to keep reading.