cover image The Ghost Map

The Ghost Map

Steven Johnson, , read by Alan Sklar. . Tantor Audio, $34.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4001-0298-3

The idiosyncratic thinker and cultural historian Johnson leaps from trumpeting video games (in his previous book Everything Bad Is Good for You ) to uncovering the history of murderous cholera infestations in London and the scientific research that revealed the microbial origins of the outbreaks. Sklar reads Johnson's engaging book with a deep, measured baritone that is the embodiment of solidly backed reasonability. Sklar makes each word sound as if it has been chipped into a block of marble, there to rest for all eternity. This is not always conducive to following the flow of Johnson's narrative, but Sklar does well with his voice what Johnson seeks to do with his book: insert a slip into the history book, adding the mundane deaths of working souls and the audacious efforts of scientists into the story of the European march of progress. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 21). (Jan.)