Literature Study GuidesThe Ghost Map The Story Of Londons Most Terrifying Epidemic And How It Changed Science Cities And The Modern World

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World | Study Guide

Steven Johnson

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Course Hero. "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 May 2020. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Ghost-Map-The-Story-of-Londons-Most-Terrifying-Epidemic-and-How-It-Changed-Science-Cities-and-the-Modern-World/>.

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Course Hero. (2020, May 1). The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved April 10, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Ghost-Map-The-Story-of-Londons-Most-Terrifying-Epidemic-and-How-It-Changed-Science-Cities-and-the-Modern-World/

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Course Hero. "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Study Guide." May 1, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Ghost-Map-The-Story-of-Londons-Most-Terrifying-Epidemic-and-How-It-Changed-Science-Cities-and-the-Modern-World/.

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Course Hero, "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Study Guide," May 1, 2020, accessed April 10, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Ghost-Map-The-Story-of-Londons-Most-Terrifying-Epidemic-and-How-It-Changed-Science-Cities-and-the-Modern-World/.

Overview

Author

Steven Johnson

Year Published

2006

Type

Nonfiction

Genre

History

At a Glance

In his many books, author Steven Johnson consistently explores the rise of modern technology and its tendency to expand the limits of human knowledge through innovation. The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World tells the story of a doctor, John Snow (1813–58), and a disease, cholera. Snow challenged the British medical establishment in the mid-19th century in response to a devastating epidemic of cholera, which had spread from Asia to Europe. Going against the assumption that the disease was spread by air, he initiated door-to-door research to demonstrate the role of contaminated water instead.

Snow's work led to the introduction of modern sewer systems and a new conception of urban life in the rapidly growing population centers of his time. His work was also relevant to the future worldwide, where cholera still remains a threat. By mapping actual populations, Snow shed new light on disease control, based on new knowledge and cooperative innovation. His resourceful thinking, coupled with his diligent and focused research, led to improved living conditions, especially for people affected by poverty and overcrowding.

About the Title

The "ghost map," reproduced in the book, refers to an actual map of a London neighborhood critically hit by a cholera epidemic in 1854. John Snow, a physician, created the map to pinpoint houses where people were stricken and died. His successful attempt to locate the source of infection in a public water pump is indicated on the map and represents the first time door-to-door research was used to track an epidemic. Snow indicated lines on the map for every person who died, providing a ghostly reminder of each life.

Summary

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