The ghost map : the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world / Steven Johnson.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: 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.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-290) and index.
    • ISBN:
      1594489254 : HRD
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:


Booklist Reviews 2006 October #1

/*Starred Review*/ More than two million people were squeezed into 30 square miles in Victorian London, producing massive quantities of waste that, before modern public waste disposal systems, fouled both land and the Thames River. Indeed, Johnson says, "No extended description of London from that period failed to mention the stench of the city." Some, called miasmatists, believed foul odors caused disease. Many believed the lifestyles of the poor and ignorant masses made them more susceptible to illness. Thus, in late summer of 1854, when cholera began claiming poor -working-class residents of the Golden Square neighborhood, popular opinion blamed the city's excavation of a nearby burial ground. But Dr. John Snow, an anesthesia expert and consultant to the queen, and the Reverend Henry Whitehead thought the pathogen might have a different source. Their dogged efforts soon ended the deadly epidemic. They demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae had been contracted by drinking contaminated water from the neighborhood pump. In the short run, Snow and Whitehead saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. In the long run, their work, part of which consisted of mapping the disease's spread, resulted in efficient public waste disposal systems and disease control measures that saved millions worldwide. And that work is hardly done. ((Reviewed October 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2006 June #1

An account of how Dr. John Snow solved a medical mystery by tracking cholera's spread through Victorian London. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

PW Reviews 2006 August #3

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.)

[Page 61]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.