Ideas In The Ghost Map

1120 Words5 Pages
The world is shaped by ideas. Empires built, kings crowned, wars fought, inventions imagined, stories written—no matter how noble, menacing, or lugubrious, all begin with a simple seed of an idea; and even just one subject, one process in nature, attaches itself with many different ideas, and this holds the potential to weave a web of controversy. In Steven Johnson’s book, The Ghost Map, he chronicles the battle of ideas surrounding the origins of cholera and the 1854 cholera epidemic in London. Many Victorian health officials in the 1850’s held theories on how cholera was spread, and opposing these theories was an ambitions physician named John Snow. The Ghost Map weaves this battle of theories and quest for truth together in such a way that it showcases how some ideas are so powerful that they hold even the most intelligent individuals in ignorance and propel the most determined towards actuality. The power of ideas changed London and went on to change the world. In the 1850’s many individuals tried to change London’s cholera problem for the better; and while these crusades to better London were with good intentions, many ultimately made the problem worse. Londoners, living in the largest city in the world at the time, successfully transformed London into a cesspool. Residents often…show more content…
These three major ideas present in The Ghost Map are the most impressive and powerful: The miasma theory, John Snow’s waterborne theory, and the idea and drive to make London great. After all this research, after pinpointing each and every case of cholera, after making one of the most well-known statistical maps on earth, and after years of the waterborne theory sinking into the mind of the general populous, Snow finally receive validation against miasma. Through this validation, London grew into the mega city it is today. Most memorable and most important are these ideas, because these ideas shaped the
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