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Non Fiction: The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic

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


On August 28, 1854, working-class Londoner Sarah Lewis tossed a bucket of soiled water into the cesspool of her squalid apartment building and triggered the deadliest outbreak of cholera in the city's history.

In this tightly written page-turner, Johnson (Everything Bad Is Good for You) uses his considerable skill to craft a story of suffering, perseverance and redemption that echoes to the present day. Describing a city and culture experiencing explosive growth, with its attendant promise and difficulty, Johnson builds the story around physician John Snow. In the face of a horrifying epidemic, Snow (pioneering developer of surgical anesthesia) posited the then radical theory that cholera was spread through contaminated water rather than through miasma, or smells in the air. Against considerable resistance from the medical and bureaucratic establishment, Snow persisted and, with hard work and groundbreaking research, helped to bring about a fundamental change in our understanding of disease and its spread. Johnson weaves in overlapping ideas about the growth of civilization, the organization of cities, and evolution to thrilling effect. From Snow's discovery of patient zero to Johnson's compelling argument for and celebration of cities, this makes for an illuminating and satisfying read. B&w illus. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    FYI... Steven Johnson gives "A Guided Tour Of The Ghost Map" on TED TALKS. You can find it on YouTube. If you haven't read the book or couldn't make yourself finish it....He gives a concise talk in detail based on his book. Check it out!

    1 · April 9, 2014

  • Kristine

    Robyn it's on the 14th! Also don't worry if you haven't read the book as we're going to discuss future meeting places and pick some books.

    April 9, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ladies I totally spaced out Monday night I am so sorry for not being there. Hope it went well! See you next month!

    April 9, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hahaha oops what a dork I am!!! I WILL see you NEXT Monday!

      1 · April 9, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    won't be able to make book club April 14. I changed my rsvp. see you in may

    April 8, 2014

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