Epub The Ghost Map
Doc ↠ The Ghost Map ↠ 320 pages Ç Dogsalonbristol ´ [PDF / Epub] ✅ The Ghost Map By Steven Johnson – Dogsalonbristol.co.uk From the bestselling author of Everything Bad is Good For You Steven Johnson's The Ghost Map vividly recreates Victorian London to show how huge populations live together hFrom the bestselling author of Everything Bad is Good For You Steven Johnson's The Ghost Map vividly recreates Victorian London to show how huge populations live together how cities can kill and how they can save usSteven Johnson is one of today's most exciting writers about popular culture urban living and new technology In The Ghost Map he tells the story of the terrifying cholera epidemic that engulfed London in 1854 and the two unlikely heroes anesthetist Doctor John Snow and affable clergyman Reverend Henry Whitehead who defeated the diseas By turns thought provoking and irritating The Ghost Map meanders from its central story how an unorthodox physician found the source of a cholera epidemic that swept through London in 1854 into a host of other issues Expecting a straightforward account of the unraveling of this medical mystery I set this book aside twice in frustration bored with the author's tendency to stretch out the narrative and particularly his repeated examination of the hold the miasma paradigm had upon medical minds in the mid nineteenth century He can't seem to get over the fact that all manner of educated and otherwise reasonable people believed that disease was caused by noxious smells His lengthy discussion of the bureaucratic obstacles faced by John Snow the physician who linked cholera with contamination of drinking water with sewage begins to wear thin about half way through the book The Ghost Map certainly starts promisingly enough with a description of Victorian London's hitherto unheralded recyclers the night soil men mudlarks rag gatherers bone pickers and others who made a living scavenging in London's streets rivers and sewers This is fascinating stuff who knew for example that such a person as a pure finder dealer in dog shit or pure which was used by tanners existed? In this Dickensian world an astonishing diverse array of second or third class citizens eked out a living on the margins From an examination of this nether world Johnson then moves on to the slums of London doing a crack up job describing the cramped horrid living conditions He zeros in on one street and one family; a harried mother is caring for a sick infant who eventually dies The child suffers from virulent diarrhea and is wasting away The mother washes the soiled diapers and tosses the dirty water in the cesspool just outside her door The cesspool in turn oozes into a local well The stage is set for the beginning of an epidemic Johnson is best when he describes this world with its reeking slums But he is inclined freuently to hare after philosophical uestions not the least of which is mankind's inability to see beyond the dominant scientific paradigms of the time This bogs the narrative down While Johnson has many interesting ideas and speculations it's tiring to be taken on so many unresolved side journeys It's not uite so interesting for example to read at length of John Snow's battles with pig headed authorities who are blind to the obvious link that Snow establishes between one particular source of contaminated water and the cholera epidemic Nor was I particularly enthralled to read the minutia of Snow's statistical analysis he built for his case Johnson also seems inordinately fond of the idea of a map as a grand organizing theme one which he stretches out well past the 19th century in the final chapter Actually the final chapter leaves Snow's London altogether and is something of an eye opener Johnson discusses the role of cities in the modern world as well as the gravest threats that mankind faces today This chapter could well be a stand alone essay It made me think ultimately that this book would have made two excellent books one the tale of the cholera epidemic and the other of the social conseuences of the rise of cities As it is putting them into one book weaving between factual account and philosophical premise was over reaching a bit
Ebook ñ The Ghost Map ¶ Steven Johnson
Connected picture about urban and bacterial life it is difficult to do justice to the exuberance of Johnson's ideas' Scotland on SundaySteven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You Mind Wide Open Where Good Ideas Come From Emergence and Interface Culture His writing appeared in the Guardian the New Yorker Nation and Harper's as well as the op ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism and a Contributing Editor to Wired I enjoyed most of the book but I hated the concluding chapter I would have preferred it if he had stuck to his subject rather than stringing together a series of personal opinions The discussion of the relative risks of a nuclear holocaust versus bio terrorism via a genetically engineered virus seemed forced Does it really matter? The author somehow managed to work in references to both the Iranian nuclear policy and intelligent design in a book about cholera in the nineteenth century Was there an editor?
Steven Johnson ¶ The Ghost Map Pdf
The Ghost MapE through a combination of local knowledge scientific research and map makingIn telling their extraordinary story Steven Johnson also explores a whole world of ideas and connections from urban terror to microbes ecosystems to the Great Stink cultural phenomena to street life'A wonderful book' Mail on Sunday'A thumping page turner' Daily Telegraph'Enthralling vivid and gripping' New Statesman'Exhilarating' Spectator'It is a rattling scientific mystery but in the hands of Steven Johnson it becomes something much richer a vast inter Cholera is a nasty little bug Once ingested it forms colonies on the intestinal wall begins to reproduce with ferocious speed and proceeds to trick the cells into excreting water rather than absorb it It doesn't really matter of the host dies soon because millions of new little cholera bacteria rush out of the host with the excreta waiting for the next person to ingest some excrement That is the key The only was to get cholera is by ingesting the excrement of another person so infected Now you might say whoa that's than I really wanted to know and I have no intention of so doing anyway Well you're right all homo sapiens have a predisposition NOT to do just that but given the rise of cities the closeness with which we live the relative ease of transportation and the total misunderstanding of basic sanitation that existed until the 20th century it was inevitable that the little buggers would escape their original habitat along the Ganges RiverJohnson discusses the interrelationship of the rise of cities alcohol tolerance as a genetic adaptation to increased agriculturalization Drinking water could be uite hazardous but drinking beer and other alcoholic drinks had survival value from a natural selection standpoint because the fermentation process and alcohol killed off many harmful bacteria Since alcohol is a poison and ill tolerated by many the speculation is that as agriculture and cities began to predominate those who could tolerate alcohol better than others survived to reproduction ageIn another of those little actions that are intended to benefit but which have unintended conseuences the change in use of sewers in London inadvertently laid the groundwork pun intended for the cholera epidemic Sewers had been designed to channel away rain water to and help prevent flooding in the city In fact it was prohibited to dump anything in the sewers and the Thames had been teeming with fish and uite clean As the population increased waste accumulated and the aroma of piles of excrement in basements and elsewhere gave the miasmatists those who believed disease was transmitted in the air food for thought the puns just keep rolling along So they had the brilliant idea of using the sewer system to wash the excrement out of the city and into the river which soon became foul As it had also been the source of drinking water the transmission of the cholera bacteria was efficient and inevitableSnow's rational approach to discovering the cause of the disease is remarkable in other ways It had been common a mythos that still is often heard today to blame disease on lack of moral fiber Since most of the victims were poor and we all know that the poor are morally unfit the victims themselves were somehow responsible for the illness Snow rejected that possibility rationally looking at evidence and building his case for the water bourne nature of the disease Johnson turns a nice metaphor in describing Snow's discovery how great breakthroughs usually happen in practice It is rarely the isolated genius having a eureka moment alone in the lab Nor is it merely a uestion of building on precedent of standing on the shoulders of giants in Newton's famous phraseGreat breakthroughs are closer to what happens in a flood plain a dozen separate tributaries converge and the rising waters lift the genius high enough that he or she can see around the conceptual constructions of the ageHow the source of cholera epidemics in London in 1854 was identified and explained is the subject of this engrossing work A very good companion book to read with this one is Yellow Fever Black Goddess The Coevolution of People and Plagues which has an excellent section on modern cholera treatments