The Ghost Map
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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.
In Ghost Map Steven Johnson tells the story of the terrifying cholera epidemic that engulfed London in 1854, and the two unlikely heroes – anaesthetist 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, 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. Re-creating a London full of dirt, dust heaps, slaughterhouses and scavengers, Ghost Map is about how huge populations live together, how cities can kill – and how they can save us.
Tells the story of the cholera epidemic in London in 1854 and the two men John Snow (anaesthetist) and Henry Whitehead (clergyman) who defeated the disease through a combination of local knowledge, scientific research and map-making.
Steven Johnson takes the reader day by day through the cholera epidemic of 1854 - which would consume 50,000 lives in England and Wales - and recreates a London full of dust heaps, furnaces and slaughterhouses.
"Thoroughly engrossing. . . .a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags." —Wall Street Journal The New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Map and How We Got to Now returns with the story of a pirate who changed the world Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century. Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic non-fiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.
In 1831, an unknown, horrifying and deadly disease from Asia swept across Continental Europe, killing millions in its path and throwing the medical profession into confusion. Cholera is a killer with little respect for class or wealth. When it arrived in Britain, its repercussions rocked Victorian England - from the filthy lanes of the Sunderland quayside and the squalid streets of Soho, to the great centres of power: the Privy Council, Whitehall and the Royal Medical Colleges. One man - alone and unrecognized - uncovered the truth behind the pandemic and laid the foundations for the modern scientific investigation of today's fatal plagues. John Snow was a reclusive doctor, without money or social position, who had the genius to look beyond the conventional wisdom of his day and work out that cholera was spread through drinking water. The book draws extensively on nineteenth-century medical, political and personal records in order to describe what is both an important breakthrough for medical science and also a dramatic story with a cast of colourful characters, from the heroic to the frighteningly incompetent. The book is also full of fascinating diversions into aspects of medical and social history, from Snow's tending of Queen Victoria in childbirth, to the Dutch microbiologist Leeuwenhoek's breeding of lice in his socks, and from Dickensian children's farms to riotous nineteenth-century anaesthesia parties.
"Meticulously researched and with a sophisticated approach to history, this is also an exciting and compelling story. After reading it, I dreamt about being lost and scared at night in the filthy lanes of Victorian London."--Andrew Cunningham, Senior Research Fellow in History of Medicine, University of Cambridge "This book is one of those rare gems that thrills like fiction but is based on fact. It tells of the clear thought and quiet endeavour of a man who, without seeking honour or fame, persisted in overcoming prejudice and separating fact from fancy. john Snow discovered the way in which epidemic cholera was caught and nearly always killed us. By doing so he not only told the world how to prevent it, he laid the basis for the the prevention of all the world's medical ills--the science of epidemiology."--Dr. Mike Smith, Former NHS Director of Public Health (UK), and current 'resident' GP for Channel 5 News. "This vivid book about the victories of science over ignorance provides insight as we head towards the next epidemic."--Dr. Paul Volberding, Director of the Center for AIDS Research, University of California, San Francisco
From the bestselling author of How We Got To Now, The Ghost Map and Farsighted, a new national bestseller: the “exhilarating”( Los Angeles Times) story of Joseph Priestley, “a founding father long forgotten”(Newsweek) and a brilliant man who embodied the relationship between science, religion, and politics for America's Founding Fathers. In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.
This book is a celebration of ideas: how they happen and their sometimes unintended results. Johnson shows how simple scientific breakthroughs have driven other discoveries through the network of ideas and innovations that made each finding possible. He traces important inventions through ancient and contemporary history, unlocking tales of unsung heroes and radical revolutions that changed the world and the way we live in it
The chapters in this book cover yellow fever, diseases in cities, John Snow's cholera, mapping symptoms, 'Asiatic Cholera', cancer as cholera, and much, much more.