The Next Chapter is Westminster's summer reading program for all incoming first-year students. The summer reading program is a collaborative effort of the Division of Student Affairs and the Inquiry Program and provides an enjoyable way for students to continue to hone their critical thinking skills during the summer through the exploration of a selected literary work. This summer, entering first year students will be reading The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, a vivid and remarkable account of the London, England cholera outbreak of 1854. After arriving on campus, new students will discuss The Ghost Map during Fresh Start Orientation. Across the fall semester, the College will host an array of campus-wide co-curricular activities in connection with The Ghost Map such as expert panels and guest speakers. Elements of the book may also be a topic of discussion in select classes across campus.
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
A National Best Seller and New York Times Notable Book, The Ghost Map takes place in the summer of 1854. A devastating cholera outbreak seizes London just as it is emerging as a modern city: more than 2 million people packed into a ten-mile circumference. Dr. John Snow-whose ideas about contagion had been dismissed by the scientific community-is spurred to intense action when the people in his neighborhood begin dying. Local clergyman, Henry Whitehead, also embarks on his own path to solve this deadly puzzle.
Comments from Last Year's First-Year Students
"The Ghost Map was well written . . . its imagery brought the reader into London, and Johnson turned a story of information into a mystery."
"The Ghost Map was interesting and exciting. It's one of the reasons I want to go to London during my senior year."
"The Ghost Map gave me a better understanding of the problems London faced in the 1850s--problems that continue to the present."
"I enjoyed The Ghost Map. It was a nice introduction to the First-Year Program.
Comments from Across the Nation
Johnson adds a new and welcome element - old fashioned storytelling flair...to his multifaceted method of unraveling the scientific mysteries of everyday life.
- Adapted from The Los Angeles Times Book Review
Steven Johnson's multidisciplinary expertise and great story-telling make The Ghost Map a quick and compelling read.
- About.com: Contemporary Literature
- Penguin Publishing's The Ghost Map website
- UCLA Department of Epidemiology John Snow site
- Michigan State University John Snow Archive and Research Companion
- Homepage of the John Snow Society
A copy of The Ghost Map was mailed to all newly entering first year students (class of 2016) during the first week of July. If you did not receive your copy of The Ghost Map, please contact Ms. Jennifer Morgan at 724.946.7244 or by email.