In The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson informs us of the cholera outbreak that engrossed London in 1854. The accepted conviction at the time was that the malady was as a result of miasma - terrible, malodorous air that pervaded the conurbation. A general practitioner by name John Snow was convinced that the cholera was caused by water related factors, and a clergyman named Henry Whitehead positioned himself out to demonstrate that, the physician wash erroneous. Jointly, the two men established that Snow was correct. It was Snow's "ghost map," illustrating the affiliation of where inhabitants passed away in relation to their water resource that persuaded the urban leaders to take the opposite measures. Steven Johnson (2006) employs the anecdote of the cholera epidemic to demonstrate how conurbations, precedent and current, continue to seek appropriate measures to deal with tribulations created by bulky concentrations of citizens living in swarming areas.
The Ghost Map has received encouraging scholarly analysis with numeral academicians asserting that, more considerably, though, he depicts London not just as an opinionated and geographical body, but also, as an existing organism that has to nurture and replenish itself to stay alive. He makes livelier what might have been dry-as-dust discipline coverage with brilliantly drawn characters and abundant bookish references. Better still, he permits his personal fervor for such flashes of individual inventiveness to stand out through. This book opens up with a vivid description of London as a metropolitan of foragers: pure-finders, night-soilmen, sewer-hunters and bone-pickers among others. Against this milieu of vile and appalling smells, and in the face of terrible epidemic, Snow illustrated that, cholera was spread through unhygienic water. In opposition to substantial resistance from the health and bureaucratic institution, Snow persevered and, with hard work and revolutionary research, facilitated to carry about elemental changes in our understanding of maladies and their spread. Johnson interlaces in overlapping thoughts about the augmentation of civilization, the institution of cities, and development to exhilarating effect. This is a comprehensive book integrating a detective story, a preface to figures (math), and a private history. From Snow's unearthing of patient zero to Johnson's convincing dispute for and celebration of towns, this makes for an enlightening and fulfilling read. It is not a book for the easily offended however; a vibrant explanation of death from cholera is graphically and frighteningly detailed. As remarkable as the central body of the book is, Johnson concludes with an Epilogue, which I suppose was most likely written well after he completed the telling of Dr. Snow’s account.
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