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The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most…

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It… (2006)

by Steven Johnson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,1751512,614 (3.95)2 / 272
Recently added byprivate library, rainierstranger, newnaturalmama, tastor, cshalizi, buffygurl, smasler
  1. 40
    The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly (meggyweg)
  2. 20
    The Medical Detective: John Snow, Cholera and the Mystery of the Broad Street Pump by Sandra Hempel (Ape)
  3. 10
    The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry (John_Vaughan)
  4. 10
    And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: A much, much, more recent (and equally gross) epidemiological thriller/mystery.
  5. 10
    On the Map: why the World Looks the Way it Does by Simon Garfield (John_Vaughan)
  6. 00
    Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (Luchtpint)
  7. 11
    Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (VenusofUrbino)
  9. 00
    The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: A story of courage as much as plague
  10. 11
    Disease Maps: Epidemics on the Ground by Tom Koch (JBDTest2)
    JBDTest2: Testing a bug (but these two do seem like they'd go well together)
  11. 00
    Pox Americana by Elizabeth A. Fenn (questionablepotato)
  12. 00
    Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason by Jessica Warner (wandering_star)
  13. 01
    Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830-1910 by Richard J. Evans (Rosentredere)
  14. 04
    London Mini Street Atlas by Geographers' A-Z Map Company (John_Vaughan)

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English (149)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
This taught me so much about John Snow and how epidemiology got started in Victorian London. This read like a thriller and was super-interesting. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
This book is a compelling piece of narrative history, telling the story of a nineteenth-century cholera outbreak in London and the vivid characters that worked to save a working class London community and to advance the science of their day. The dogged doctor and the social cleric make for a fascinating duo to explore the community and to learn how disease found a welcome breeding ground in a rapidly developing city. The author discusses how scientific progress was finally (and slowly) made and makes a number of suggestions about how to consider modern city life, the rapid expansion of cities in developing countries, and the threats the contemporary city faces. All of which provides a rich banquet of food for thought. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Aug 27, 2018 |
Drawn out and repetitive. Cool concepts and ideas, just way too long. ( )
  simonspacecadet | Jul 29, 2018 |
I didn't think I would enjoy a book that started about how people used to get rid of their poop, but I did. I'm honestly not sure what to think of the dramatic way Johnson tells this story. On the one hand, it's what kept me turning pages all day yesterday until I finished the book. But on the other hand, it's a little unbelievable the way he enters the minds of John Snow and Whitehead. Overall, it was a pretty fascinating book. ( )
  captainmander | Jul 19, 2018 |
Beautifully written, well-researched, and has something to say. Thought-provoking. Highly recommended. Even better than The Invention of Air by the same author, but I recommend that one, too. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
To nonfiction book writers: if you want your book to sell, make huge, dramatic claims with your title and/or subtitle. If you want your book to be a bestseller, you actually have to fulfill those claims. Steven Johnson has done both, again and again.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Johnsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gibson, BenjaminCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sklar, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"A Klee painting named 'Angelus Novus' shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistably propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress."
—Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History"
For the women in my life:

My mother and sisters, for their amazing work
on the front lines of public health

Alexa, for the gift of Henry Whitehead

and Mame, for introducing me to London so many years ago . . .
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It is August 1854, and London is a city of scavengers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From Amazon: 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 of the spread of disease, 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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A 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.

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