It’s a another book in the vein of The Ghost Map — an idea book wrapped around an historical narrative, and like Ghost Map, it has an organizing theme of how innovative ideas emerge and spread in a society, while integrating many different threads along the way: 18th-century London coffeehouse culture; the Adams-Jefferson letters; the origins of ecosystem science; the giant dragonflies of the Carboniferous Era; the impact of energy deposits on British political change; the discovery of the gulf stream; the Alien and Sedition acts; Jefferson’s bible; the Lunar Society; mob violence; Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions; Ben Franklin’s kite experiment.
This fall is shaping up to be a very busy season for media consumption. Not only are there a zillion Oscar-type movies out there but Malcolm Gladwell AND Steven Johnson (my two favorite authors) have new work hitting the shelves. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy on Amazon. Go get yours.