The Ghost Map

  • by Steven Johnson
  • Narrated by Alan Sklar
  • 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This is a thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world. The Ghost Map takes place in the summer of 1854. A devastating cholera outbreak seizes London just as it is emerging as a modern city: more than two million people packed into a 10-mile circumference, a hub of travel and commerce, teeming with people from all over the world, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that's outdated as soon as it's updated. Dr. John Snow, whose ideas about contagion had been dismissed by the scientific community, is spurred to intense action when the people in his neighborhood begin dying. With enthralling suspense, Johnson chronicles Snow's day-by-day efforts as he risks his own life to prove how the epidemic is being spread. From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E.O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting story with a real-life historical hero. It brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a true triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking for which he's become famous. This is a book that, like the work of Jared Diamond, presents both vivid history and a powerful and provocative explanation of what it means for the world we live in.


What the Critics Say

"An illuminating and satisfying read." (Publishers Weekly)
"A formidable gathering of small facts and big ideas." (New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


For all those interested in public health, biostatistics, epidemiology, polution, city planning, civil engineering, anthropology, sociology, industrial hygiene, & victorian history this is a wondrful way to spend about 6 hours. The reader is the books equal, both are impressive.
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- Cheryl Crane

Two books-- one great, one not so

Most of the book is a fascinating mix of Victorian English social history and medical detective story. The last quarter changes gears dramatically to become a paean to urbanization and the power of mapmaking in sociological study. Pretty incongruous. Still, it's worth it-- especially if you need a shorter book.
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- Mark Patterson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio