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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 [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   299
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.62 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 2, 2007
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
Age  18
ISBN  1594482691  
EAN  9781594482694  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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. Reprint.

Publishers Description
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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More About Steven Johnson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Steven Johnson is the author of eight bestsellers, including How We Got To Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You. Most recently, he is the is the author of Wonderland. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites--including writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

Steven Johnson currently resides in Brooklyn, in the state of New York.

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Product Categories
1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > Europe   [2054  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Scientific research at its best  Nov 15, 2008
This is wonderful account of scientific research on 19th century conducted not with high tech instruments but with an open and inquisitive mind and ground work. It eventually traces the cause of cholera to water when all the medics were sure at that time that diseases like this were transmitted by air in the form of foul smells. What is really amazing is that the works of Dr. Snow and Reverend Whitehead points to water as the source but they did not have any means to identify or propose what was wrong in the water. The cholera bacteria was identified several decades later. But still by careful observations, statistics, lots of interviews and applied logic they identified the contaminated water form a particular well was the cause.

I recommend this book to whoever is interested in following step by a step a very scientific reasoning.
Definitely Worth The Read  Nov 9, 2008
The book kept me glued for 180 pages straight. Very compelling read for the genre. There are some negatives though. The book often dwells far too long on topics not all that relevant or necessary to the story. You get the filling that the author added a lot of filler to make the book longer. This feeling is stressed by the fact that the author repeats himself A LOT. He will literally say the same thing reworded three times in a row and repeat it once more in the next paragraph. Still, I loved the book and I felt an amazing sense of respect and pride while reading through plight of the two main protagonists. The writing isn't top shelf material but it works.
Like fiction  Oct 2, 2008
Steven Johnson gets draw a clasical Snow's Story like a fiction but anchored to the reality throught tree "dramatic lines":

1. The comming of a epidemiology like a new science.

2. The borning of geographic inference. How we can infer what happen in the micro world trough the macro world.

3. A case of honestity betwen ancient believes performer and a science man.

Those tree treadsare weaved by the story with presence of tautness moments and characters take the good side or de bad side in diferent moments.

The story is simple but well workred. A terrific dreadful sillnes apears in London, a bunch of corpses flood the streets. Nothing knows that to do. Church performer says that the gulty is the miasma. Miasma is a very strange conccept that does not means although nothing, buy can be seen like a phantom that travels by air taking amay litle pieces of sickness. The miasma can be produced by a god desicion. Who say that is Henry Whithead whose name would look have been taked from a fiction.

An anestesiologist apears in scene. He beginings to arrange the geografic information ponting each one of the dies, one point in the died person home. This hero is John Snow whose name looks like from fiction too.

Both persons debate about. But the stronger is the religious man. Trhough the worked maps, Snow get convince to Whitehead. Whitehead convince easely to goverment. And goverment close the water bombs getting in this way the victory over siknes the other character named cholera.

Is a good book but the map that present is just a part of the complet work. This book is good for teacheing, for enterteinement and for general culture too.
Good book, but Kindle edition falls short  Sep 30, 2008
This was the first book I purchased for my Kindle, based on a friend's recommendation (who had read the print version). I found it a very enjoyable read, and it will be especially appealing to those interested in epidemiology, statistical graphics, and medical history.

However, if you care at all about annotations and such, I recommend you get it in print, not as a Kindle e-book. The book has very extensive notes at the end. I have to believe that these notes are numbered, and that there are superscripts in the main text of the printed version that reference these notes. However, in the Kindle edition, there are no links to these notes (even though such linking is possible), and there is no way to associate a given end note with a location in the text. I doubt that I would have interrupted my reading to follow many such notes, but I certainly would have done so a FEW times on topics of particular interest to me, and the inability to do so is a big loss.

The Kindle edition also includes the complete index, minus page numbers, and again with no links. This is not as big a problem, as one can use the search feature to find those locations.

What I wonder now is if this lack of linkage to end notes is the norm for Kindle books, or whether The Ghost Map is unusual in that respect. I suppose I will be pretty leery of reading nonfiction in this format in the future. This e-book cost me less than the printed form -- but I also received significantly less.

Another general note on the book is that it is disappointing that it does not display the second version of Snow's map (with voronoi boundaries) that is discussed in the conclusions. It would seem that this would be the "title map" so it is a curious omission.
Mapping a mystery  Sep 29, 2008
Interesting retelling of the London Cholera outbreak in 1854, and how a physician and a pastor working on the edges of their disciplines solved the mystery and drew the "ghost map" of deaths which pointed to the source of the disease.

Bogs down when Johnson generalizes to the benefit of modern cities to the economy, the environment, and world health. Yeah, maybe, but I'm not sure Johnson proves the point or rather I'm fairly sure that Johnson over-reaches the evidence to try to prove his point.

Edward Tufte references this map extensively in his book Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative as a positive example of the power of proper visual display of information.

Write your own review about 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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