A National Bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and an Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year
“By turns a medical thriller, detective story, and paean to city life, Johnson's account of the outbreak and its modern implications is a true page-turner.” —The Washington Post
“Thought-provoking.” —Entertainment Weekly
It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure-garbage removal, clean water, sewers-necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action-and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time.
In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of disease, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.