Synopses & Reviews
"Early in this fascinating gem, Mansfield (In the Memory House) explains how time and place, 'once inseparable' (as with fire and light before Edison's electric bulb), became distinct concepts in the late 19th century when railroads created Standard Time Zones. This is the simple yet enthralling premise that forms the jumping-off point for Mansfield's investigation into the meaning of progress. 'What we want from the past is presence,' writes Mansfield. 'We want the moment restored,' and a handful of chapters detail examples of bygone times: an ancient grandfather clock, hollowed and packed with generations of children's mittens, marks time in a more profound way; a clever young man's money-making scheme gives birth to 'Continuous Vaudeville,' where shows run for 12 hours; a farmer's almanac from 1860 reveals a time kept by season and sun ('the hour and the minute were not important,' writes Mansfield). Mansfield inspires readers to contemplate accepted definitions and measurements of commonplace, yet elusive, concepts. 'Throw out your clocks,' he instructs, carve out a little time and place for yourself, and enjoy this book.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Before Thomas Edison, light and fire were thought to be one and the same. Turns out, they were separate things altogether. This book takes a similar relationship, that of time and place, and shows how they, too, were once inseparable. Time keeping was once a local affair, when small towns set their own pace according to the rising and setting of the sun. Then, in 1883, the expanding railroads necessitated the creation of Standard Time zones, and communities became linked by a universal time. Here Howard Mansfield explores how our sudden interconnectedness, both physically, as through the railroad, and through inventions like the telegraph, changed our concept of time and place forever.