The Ghost Map: the Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Published October 19th 2006 by Riverhead Hardcover
Plot Description: This riveting nonfiction narrative tells the story of London’s Broad Street Cholera outbreak in the summer of 1854. During a time when every other scientific mind, including every other doctor, believed that the epidemic was caused by an airborne virus, Dr. John Snow and Reverend Henry Whitehead fought to find the true culprit of the outbreak. Using mapping, Dr. Snow was able to pinpoint the center of the disease and ultimately prove that it was being spread through the drinking water of one local pump. This book not only takes a look at epidemics and a historical aspect of disease control, but also the lay outs of cities and future developments of urban environments.
Quantitative Reading Level: 11.2
Qualitative Reading Analysis: I would classify this work as Moderately Complex for the age group. Steven Johnson does a wonderful job of weaving a tale and making it not only interesting for the modern reader, but keeping the story flowing. There are a few things that students may not be familiar with, such as the layout and daily lives of London and Londoners in the mid 19th Century, but using the information Johnson provides, the story is easy to follow.
Content Area: History/Social Science, Science
CC Content Area Standard: RLST.9-10.1, RLST.9-10.2, RLST.9-10.3, RLST.9-10.5, RLST.9-10.9, RLST.9-10.10, SL39-10.1, SL.9-10.6
Curriculum Lesson Plans: http://www.sharemylesson.com/teaching-resource/epidemiology-and-amp-risk-6126031/
Other Fun Resources:
- John Snow’s Map of the Cholera Outbreak – http://www.udel.edu/johnmack/frec682/cholera/
- Ghost Map website – http://www.theghostmap.com/
- UCLA John Snow site – http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow.html
- New England Journal of Medicine article– http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMbkrev57931
- The Daily Show Interview and Bio of Steven Johnson –http://thedailyshow.cc.com/guests/steven-johnson
- EXCITE- Excellence in Curriculum Innovation through Teaching Epidemiology– http://www.cdc.gov/excite/