The Ghost Map
The First Post, a free and independent daily online British news magazine with some terrific contributors, reviews The Ghost Map:
During the sweltering summer of 1854 a woman in Soho tipped away a bucket of water she had been using to wash her sick daughter - and inadvertently started a cholera epidemic that eventually claimed 50,000 lives. Steven Johnson tells the story of the disease as it raced through London and spread to the countryside beyond. . . .He also draws a vivid portrait of John Snow, the local doctor who plotted the source of the epidemic, using maps to discover that it was spread by water rather than in the air.
Snow's statistical maps of deaths started medical epidemiology. With seemingly endless sources of energy, 19th century Brits cleaned up water supplies. They then proceeded to clean up Japan's.