Corona Crisis comparison to London Cholera epidemic is haunting: The Ghost Map
Extremely fitting reading for today’s current events
Looking for something to read? Most of us are heavily inundated with reading about the novel coronavirus, so if you are interested in reading a title about epidemiology, Steven Johnson’s nonfiction book “The Ghost Map” is about the London Cholera epidemic in the 1850’s and details the journey of Dr. John Snow and a clergyman Henry Whitehead to find the source of what is making the city’s population drastically ill.
Imagine millions of people living with their livestock and with no proper way to dispose of waste – causing for the city to stink real bad. London officials were so convinced that the horrible smell was at the root of why people were falling ill. As a result, citizens were told to clean/purify their living quarters by flushing water out of their cellars into the Thames river, which inevitably poisoned the water supply and contributed to the cholera epidemic.
The overcrowding and lack of effective waste systems made cities in the 1800 highly susceptible to disease, yet the silver lining with urban environments was the diverse demographics of people that ultimately allowed for Dr. Snow and Whitehead to share their expertise to help solve the problem. It’s not a spoiler that the transmission for Cholera in 1854 was not through the air and because it smelled, but rather waterborne and being people were drinking the contaminated water.
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–And How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
From the New York Times bestselling author of How We Got To Now and Farsighted, a National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment WeeklyBest Book of the Year.
It’s the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.
In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of disease, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.Also Available on Amazon and Walmart.
“More than anything else, though, it is an argument for seeing that terrible week as one of the defining moments in the invention of modern life”Opening quote in the ghost map by steven johnson
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