Angela'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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's review
Sep 15, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008, nonfiction, history, medical, plague
Read in September, 2008

An excellent, well-written book that flows easily and sucks you into the story. However, the book suffers from a lack of focus. Johnson throws out many facts and ideas throughout the course of the book, but I often found myself wondering exactly what his overall message was in each chapter, even in each paragraph. In fact, the overall feel reminds me of a college thesis -- many ideas casually strewn about, all pointing to something larger and very meaningful -- but ultimately failing to make a strong, cohesive argument. Often, Johnson repeats himself without enlarging his ideas. And the final chapters suffer by expanding the subject way beyond the limits of the majority of the book -- as if he needed to somehow tack on how that ghost map of the epidemic actually ended up changing the modern world, other than revolutionizing statistics, cartography, and epidemiology. Other than these problems, however, the book still stands as a readable, enjoyable, and informative work.

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