Sarazen'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 23, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: history, non-fiction-and-biography

Johnson succeeds best when weaving the story of cholera, and the twisted path it took John Snow to uncover the source of the epidemic amidst the competing ideas in industrial London. The images of the mud-larks, sewer dwellers and night-soil men are especially powerful.

In the epilogue though he goes off on a tangent on the enduring superiority of city life. Speculating on many events in recent history, he drones on over his talking points. It certainly took the wind out of what was otherwise a breath of fresh air.

Overall worth reading, not only to get a glimpse of what people endured only 150 years ago, but to understand how hard it can be to overturn entrenched ideas, even with solid proof built on good methods. Good read, but skip the epilogue unless you feel like being preached to.
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Reading Progress

September 23, 2008 – Shelved
October 12, 2008 –
page 50
16.72% "Engaging and interesting already."
November 7, 2008 –
page 126
42.14% "Amazing story, it is a wonder they ever discovered the cause of cholera."
Started Reading
November 13, 2008 – Shelved as: history
November 13, 2008 –
page 299
November 13, 2008 – Finished Reading
December 19, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction-and-biography

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