Summer Reading Project

John Miller, Brandon Inacio, Jake Kachurka

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

By: Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is a well recognized writer for writing many non fictional novels. Some of his most famous being Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, and How new Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at the New York University Department of Journalism. He lectures widely on technological, scientific, and cultural issues, both to corporate and education institutions. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software was on four prestigious "Best Book of the Year" lists and was named a New York Times Notable Book. It was a finalist for the 2002 Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Steven’s books have been translated into a dozen different languages.

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Steven Johnson writes about how John Snow and Henry Whitehead work on their own separate paths that inevitably end up to where they intercept. They work together to solve the case of the cholera outbreak in London 1854, this outbreak lead to many deaths, but eventually led to the creation of many things, especially things in the modern city we live in today.

Vibrio Cholerae

Johnson states that "the technical name for cholera bacterium is Vibrio cholerae." Also that you need "between 1 million and 100 million organisms depending on the acidity of your stomach to contract the disease. A glass of water could easily contain 200 million V. cholerae without the slightest hint of cloudiness." (Johnson, 34)

The Affect of Cholera On the Modern World

"But in the late summer of 1854, as the toshers and mud-larks and the bone collectors made their rounds, London was headed toward another, even more terrifying, battle between microbe and man. By the time it was over, it would prove as deadly as any in the city's history. (Johnson, 18) The affect that the cholera had on the underground homeless society was significant as it led to even the waste-recycling system to be changed for the better. It makes us think about the society we live in today compared to back then and how much it has changed.
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"The contamination of drinking water in dense urban settlements did not merely affect the number of V. Cholerae circulating through the small intestines of mankind. It also greatly increased the lethality of the bacteria. For one, bacterial life cycles are incredibly fast: a single bacterium can produce a million offspring in a matter of hours." (Johnson, 137)

The Science Behind Cholera

"Vibrio cholerae, Cholera is called “roof gutter,” in Greek, cholera expels fluids from the human body. Through this process the cholera multiply and uses the human body as a factory so even the little bit kills." (Johnson, 34) Even if you get a little Johnson still tells us that the bacteria will continue to spread and multiply.
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How Snow and Whitehead Together, Have Created The World We Live in Today

When Snow and Whitehead roamed the urban corridors of London 1854, "less than 10% of the planet's population lived in cities, up from 3% at the start of the century. No other development during that period----world wars, the spread of democracy, the use of electricity, the Internet----has had as transformative and widespread an impact on the lived experience of being human." (Johnson, 137)

The Reason You Should Read This

This is book is a very informative book that give you a little bit of everything. It gives you the scientific knowledge about a deadly disease and how it had affected people centuries ago. Also the novel informs you about the delicate history of London in 1854 and how it has changed since then as we have modernized because of John Snow and Henry Whitehead.