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History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders Paperback – May 8, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0226155111 ISBN-10: 0226155110 Edition: 0002-
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From Library Journal

Today it is impossible to think of a life unregulated by clocks or a day structured other than in 24 60-minute hours. In the Middle Ages it was different, however, and changing. Historian Dohrn-van Rossum (Univ. of Bielefeld, Germany) examines in detail the technical developments that time-keeping mechanisms were undergoing, principally between 1300 and 1600, and the subtle interactions of these developments with European culture (political, religious, economic, and scientific). Some previous theories are debunked. Readable and thoroughly researched, this is required for history of science collections.?Michael D. Cramer, Virginia Polytechnic & State Univ. Libs., Blacksburg
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Scientific American

Dohrn-van Rossum, who teaches medieval and early modern history at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, has researched his subject so profoundly that he can append to this book 81 pages of notes-mostly bibliographical-running to 948 entries. He treats the subject profoundly, too, dealing not only with the history of timekeeping devices from the sundial to the cesium clock but also with changes in the human conception of time from the cyclical order of "Church's time" to the linear order of "merchant's time." The prose sometimes plods, and key points are not always crisply stated, but the story of timekeeping is here in wonderful depth. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 463 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 0002- edition (May 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226155110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226155111
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eike on August 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Picked this book up on a whim, because the subject itself sounded fascinating. And I was right, to a certain extent: the details about how our concept of "time" has changed throughout the years, of when clocks were introduced and how different factors played into it, all of that is extremely interesting.

However, the author is NOT writing for a general public. There seems to be an underlying assumption that not only is the reader already intimately familiar with clocks, but that the reader is also well-versed in a variety of European languages. Random phrases in Latin, German, and Italian are thrown around, with no note as to what the translation means. The book could have benefited from footnotes to clarify meanings.

At times, the book also felt disjointed, jumping around from one time period to the next and then back again. That made it hard to keep track of the chronology, somewhat ironic in a book about the "history of the hour." (Unless the entire book is supposed to be a parable of the clock's/the hour's development, in which case it goes over my head.)

All in all, I would recommend the book only for people who have the patience for dense books, and are willing to look up all the foreign words the author has not bothered to explain.
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By JUJU on March 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a detailed and informing book about the history of time. It is relates the past with the present, illustrating the political, social , economic and cultural meanings associated with the development of clocks and the notion of time.
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