read: 1 August 2002
When I picked up this book, I thought I was just getting another pop-history shot in the arm about one of my favorite subjects -- the creation of time zones. The truth turned out to be both better and worse than whan I was expecting. Blaise is no pop historian, he is an esteemed and very erudite writer with a graceful hand and a large vocabulary. Every sentence of this book was delightful. This is not to say, however, that all the sentences lined up in neat order to form a cohesive narrative. While I found all the anecdotes about Berman to be fascinating, sometimes I had a difficult time ascertaining whether I was reading a flashback or a future projection of him on any given page.
Blaise would also occasionally branch off into a philosophical rambling about the nature of time itself which, while interesting, detracted from the overall narrative and could have merited a book of its own. The overall gist -- that the creation of standard time zones really paved the way for a transfer of cultural norms from Victorian to Modern -- comes across well. However, the devil is in the details and I got a bit muddled trying to parse an exact sequence of events from all the lovely language.
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