Elle's Reviews > The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
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Jul 08, 11

Read in July, 2011

Highly recommend this book, very interesting (although a little bit long). Fascinating account of how the first public health interventions unwittingly caused the largest outbreak of cholera at that time, of the enduring physician that employed empiricism to identify the cause, of the resistance the encounters, and the eventual acceptance of his ideas (which was too late to be of any use to London as it had already undertaken construction of sewers, but has enabled other cities to take preventative measures against cholera). The author's powerful imagery brings to life 19th century Victorian slums on the verge of a cholera outbreak, which you may or may not enjoy experiencing (personally, my enjoyment of his beautiful writing was overpowered by the content, primarily excrement). His concluding comments on the present growth of cities and risk of epidemics are very much worth reading.

I'd highly recommend reading, with the caveat that you ought to skim some of the descriptive sections.
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