Download The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Audiobook

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World Audiobook, by Steven Johnson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Steven Johnson Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2006 ISBN: 9781400172986
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,112 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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. From the dynamic thinker routinely compared to Malcolm Gladwell, E. O. Wilson, and James Gleick, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner with a real-life historical hero that brilliantly illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of viruses, rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry. These are topics that have long obsessed Steven Johnson, and The Ghost Map is a true triumph of the kind of multidisciplinary thinking for which he's become famous-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. 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 2 million people packed into a ten-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and commerce, teeming with people from all over the world, continually pushing the limits of infrastructure that's outdated as soon as it's updated.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. When he creates the map that traces the pattern of outbreak back to its source, Dr. Snow didn't just solve the most pressing medical riddle of his time. He ultimately established a precedent for the way modern city-dwellers, city planners, physicians, and public officials think about the spread of disease and the development of the modern urban environment. The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of 1854, from the microbial level to the macrourban-theory level-including, most important, the human level. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Marvelous.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Compelling...an illuminating and satisfying read. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • The Ghost Map charts the London cholera epidemic of 1854, from which Johnson extracts a saga of human ingenuity and true communal effort.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “By turns a medical thriller, detective story, and paean to city life, Johnson’s account of the outbreak and its modern implications is a true page-turner.”

    Washington Post

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 2/14/2014

    " This drags a bit in the middle, but overall a very fascinating book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 2/9/2014

    " Great book, along the lines of THE BLUE DEATH, which Johnson unfortunately doesn't seem to have read. Also a nice fit with THE BIG NECESSITY, since cholera comes from sewage-contaminated water. Not for the weak of stomach or those who like to read while they eat. Ha ha. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lana | 2/1/2014

    " I can't believe how intrigued I was by this book. Especially, the parts where the author breaks down the system of living during this time. Why? I am not a civil engineer. I do not enjoy reading about poo. This book was incredibally well written to intrigue a mostly fiction reader. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gayla | 1/31/2014

    " Beautifully written, well-researched, and has something to say. Thought-provoking. Highly recommended. Even better than The Invention of Air by the same author, but I recommend that one, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Booknerd | 1/25/2014

    " Interesting depiction of just how filthy London was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 1/24/2014

    " Read this for book club. I don't usually choose nonfiction, but the joy of bookclub is getting to read outside my comfort zone. This was extremely well-written, and kept me engaged for the whole read. Every time I'd start to have a question or argue in my head with the author, I found out as I read farther that he had led me by the nose into my argument thread on purpose so that he could answer just that question. The first chapter on the state London sanitation in the 1850s was fascinatingly disgusting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Niki | 1/22/2014

    " The first 3/4 are good, but it becomes tiresome, preachy and redundant in the end. Reads like an over-stuffed Atlantic Monthly piece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Voracious | 1/19/2014

    " Intriguing. Well researched and reasoned, and very readable style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaffrun | 12/18/2013

    " A fascinating book about the the cholera epidemic in London. This one doctor's crusade led to the idea of "public health". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 11/8/2013

    " This was a fascinating book, and it was incredibly informative. It took me longer than expected to read though. It was to be my lunch break read, but reading about cholera on your lunch break is not recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 9/25/2013

    " Interesting look at the famous Dr. Snow saves town from Cholera by removing a pump handle story. There's lots more to it. If you liked the Poisoner's Handbook, you should like this as well (though the last two chapters are kinda wandery and over broad). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 8/31/2013

    " It was a slow read. It wasn't a hard read just slow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jolie | 7/29/2013

    " I didn't finish it; I was only able to read about 1/4 of it but I liked it. I was surprised I like it. The science of cholera was interesting, as was the culture of Victorian England. The book made me appreciate modern medicine a lot more, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Naomi | 7/27/2013

    " Although I had to read this for my Epidemiology class, it was actually a fantastic story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 3/22/2013

    " I would never have selected this book on my own, but I loved it. At the very end, when Johnson applies his research to the modern world, I wanted to cheer. That is what good history is all about, showing how everything is connected. Well done. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 3/18/2013

    " One of the best books I have read recently. It provides a very detailed and clear narrative of the process of solving the mystery of how cholera was spread. I loved the level of detail, how the author laid out how each piece of the puzzle was discovered and put together to form the solution. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annette | 1/8/2013

    " Exactly what history shoudl read like- interesting story, interdisciplinary look, and an openminded survey of elements. Plus it reads like a really good detective story where the reader is in the know the whole time and waiting for the principle characters to figure it all out by the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 11/5/2012

    " I loved the story and how it tells the history of public health. I attempted to read another by the same author and it didn't catch my attention however. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Conchetta | 2/29/2012

    " A paradigm shift in the new (in 1850) science of epidemiology. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alberta | 8/5/2011

    " Way too much detailed information about the cholera epidemic in London than I would want... but a very informative book. I am not certain how well he was able to link the ideas to the current situation in the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacy | 7/27/2011

    " Fantastic historical study of a deadly cholera outbreak in London during the Victorian era, focused around the actions of two men with very different approaches, whose combined efforts would help overcome the disease, and reshape how modern cities are designed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 5/25/2011

    " This was scary to read in light of the recent scares of pandemic's and my Nursing background gave me even greater insight into how this will help determine outcomes. I was appalled at the living conditions of the day. dreadful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/18/2011

    "
    Well-written and well-paced history of London's cholera outbreak of 1854. There was some repetitive analysis, but it was an interesting story and certainly worth a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/10/2011

    " I read this book about epidemic disease and urban sanitation, in part, on the most squalid SEPTA train I've ever been on. It really gave me some food for thought, I guess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 5/4/2011

    " Really good! The sociologist nerd in me loved the qualitative and quantitative methodology to figure out what caused the outbreak. Plus, the writing was super entertaining--I never thought reading about cholera could be so engrossing... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hania | 4/17/2011

    " totally fascinating look into history; fantastic storytelling "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jimmie | 4/15/2011

    " Fascinating story of how man can conquer disease! "

About the Author

Author Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of How We Got to Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You, among other books. The founder of a variety of influential websites, he is the host and co-creator of the PBS and BBC series How We Got to Now. Johnson lives in Marin County, California, and Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and sons.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has earned him several Earphones Awards, a Booklist Editors’ Choice Award (twice), a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine. He has also narrated thousands of corporate videos for clients such as NASA, Sikorsky Aircraft, IBM, Dannon, Pfizer, AT&T, and SONY.