The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My dad and I read this book together, and it was amazing. While a bit gross (do you know how cholera spreads? because now I do) it was one of the most interesting history books I've ever (and since my BA is in history, that is saying alot) and it was great to discuss.
I just reread this for bookclub, and I enjoyed it way more this time than last. Although I could do without the author’s lengthy epilogue on the hazards of nuclear weapons, the information found within the main body of the book is fascinating. Johnson manages to spin out the suspense of a hundred and fifty year old epidemic by turning the bacteria and the city both into characters (and by pointlessly endangering the life of one of the human characters- but I guess since it’s nonfiction, you can’t really blame him for that). My only real complaint is the total lack of the “ghost map” in a book entitled The Ghost Map. He goes to some lengths to explain why the map made by the doctor was groundbreaking in its time and instrumental in convincing people of his argument, yet doesn’t choose to include a copy of the map in the book or on his website, which I found to be somewhat less than useful. Also, I knocked a star off what was once a five star review because of it.
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