The Ghost Map

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson is a historical account of the terrifying outbreak of cholera in the summer of 1854 in London and how a pair of interdisciplinary thinkers worked to find a solution to the deadly problem.

By the mid-nineteenth century, London had emerged as one of the first truly modern cities, but it severely lacked necessary sanitation services, including garbage removal, clean water, and sewers, becoming a breeding ground for an outbreak of a rapidly-spreading disease.

As the cholera outbreak spreads, it is up to Dr. John Snow and Reverend Henry Whitehead to use their knowledge of the disease and the city to map the pandemic and its cause, find its widespread implications and, ultimately, discover the intervention that stopped the devastating spread of the disease.

The Ghost Map is a riveting historical illustration of the intertwined histories of cholera, cities, and modern scientific inquiry. Yet the ideas and lessons in The Ghost Map are not simply about the nineteenth-century but also our own contemporary "wicked problems" from urban sprawl to bio-terrorism and much more.

 Author Talk

head shot of Steven Johnson, author of The Ghost Map

"The Ghost Map: How One Doctor Changed The World By Listening To His Patients" by Steven Johnson

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7 pm, McCain Auditorium

Based on the acclaimed 2006 bestseller, The Ghost Map, this talk tells the thrilling story of how two unlikely allies turned London's most deadly cholera epidemic into a scientific breakthrough that transformed human civilization. A gripping medical mystery, the story has an important lesson for today's health care industry: the need for "experts" to learn from wisdom of local communities

The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available staring September 3rd at the McCain Auditorium box office and the Manhattan Public Library. 

Request a review copy of The Ghost Map

If you are a faculty or staff member at the Manhattan or Salina campus and plan to incorporate the common book into a fall class, please contact us at with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Campus address
  • Course name and number
  • Few details about how you might use the book with students this fall





The Ghost Map Book cover

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