Book Summary: The Ghost Map

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Summary: The book The Ghost Map is set in 1854 when a disease called cholera broke out in England, again as it had before, starting in the 1830’s. The book mainly focuses on the two million plus people residing in London. The people in London didn’t know what was causing this disease at first, but as the book progresses we find out that it’s caused when you ingest water contaminated with feces. This book takes you through the struggles and havoc that the disease caused among the people and their ultimate understanding and solution. The author begins the book by describing the lower class or ‘scavengers’ in London, which consists of night-soil men, among others. The author discusses how these men who have the foulest job were very important…show more content…
This is shown through the organization of the topics he discusses, his word choice, and the way he represents the facts that contribute to the story. The book is written in third person limited point of view, This can be assumed because the author never says ‘I’ or ‘we’ he always refers to specific characters by their name and only states known facts, no opinions or feelings that he may have. This was beneficial to the book because it allows the author, Steven Johnson, to tell all aspects of the story in full, rather than just one person’s vantage point of the events in 1854. The Ghost Map got many good reviews including a terrifyingly realistic one from Entertainment Weekly, “Johnson brings to nightmarish, thought-provoking life a world in which a swift but very unpleasant death can be just a glass of water away.” This review brings the illness, figuratively, right up to your doorstep. People read about illnesses or such things and think that it’ll never happen to them so why worry, when in reality it could be uncomfortably easy for you to be in the same situation. Another review, that was extremely positive, from Kirkus Reviews, “In addition to telling the story of the outbreak, Johnson offers mini-lessons on related topics: how cholera kills, how Victorian London dealt with its messes, how and why people cling to false theories. Lively and educative.” Shows that not only is this an interesting book about the Cholera outbreak in London of 1854, but it’s also a book full of small facts about some interesting little details provided by the author to help assist in the depth of the book. The Ghost Map also got an amazing review from USA Today, which said,” Johnson builds suspense in detailing the intersecting quests of Dr. John Snow and young clergyman Henry Whitehead to find the source of the illness as it strikes the city’s population. Johnson is interested not only in how groundbreaking theories

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