Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Book Review from the Director

Ghost Map *Click here to request this book*The Ghost Map : The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic-- and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson

While considering the implications of a potential flu pandemic this year, along came a book that tells the story of the birth of today's pandemic identification and control. In 1854, central London experienced a severe cholera outbreak, killing hundreds of people in a few weeks. The book describes the horrific living conditions of the sufferers and their families, along with the exploits of two heroes, Dr. John Snow and Reverend Henry Whitehead. Johnson starts off strong with a thrilling account of the race to stop the pandemic. The book fizzles out when it begins to take on a preachy tone in its attempts to draw parallels to mid-nineteenth- century London and World cities of today, where thousands of people live in squalid slums. An interesting read for history buffs and anglophiles. It turned out not to be my "cup of tea." -Kevin

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