Paperback / softback
September 15, 2020
9781421438276
English
256
86888
24
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.63 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
September 15, 2020
9781421438283
9781421438276
English
256
86888
24
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

On Time

A History of Western Timekeeping

Ever since the Middle Ages, Western culture has been uniquely obsessed with regulating society by the precise, accurate measurement of time. As our abilities grew, the clock came to measure every moment. Soon, natural indicators were no longer sufficient to measure the flow of time. Instead, the movements of the heavens came to be described by arbitrary, human measurements.

In On Time, Ken Mondschein explores the paired development of concepts and technologies of timekeeping with human thought. Without clocks, he argues, the modern world as we know it would not exist. From the astronomical timekeeping of the ancient world to the tower clocks of the Middle Ages to the seagoing chronometer, the quartz watch, and the atomic clock, greater precision and accuracy have had profound effects on human society—which, in turn, has driven the quest for further precision and accuracy. This quest toward automation—which gave rise to the medieval bell system, the Gregorian calendar, the factory clock, and even the near-disastrous Y2K bug—has led to profound social repercussions and driven the creation of the modern scientific mind-set.

Surveying the evolution of the mechanical clock from prehistory to the twenty-first century, Mondschein explains how both the technology and the philosophy behind Western timekeeping regimes came to take over the entire world. On Time is a story of thinkers, philosophers, and scientists, and of the thousand decisions, some large, some small, that continue to shape our daily lives.

About the Author

Historian Ken Mondschein is a full-time contingent faculty member who teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Mount Ida, Boston University, and Anna Maria College. He is the editor and translator of Fencing: A Renaissance Treatise and the cotranslator of Flowers of Battle, Volume III: Florius de Arte Luctandi.

Endorsements

"What a joyously meticulous history of how we've understood time! I can't look at anything between a sundial and a swatch the same way."

- Zach Weinersmith, coauthor of Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

"This energetic, easily understood book explores how we acquired 'our' time, when and why this occurred, and what errors needed correcting along the way. Mondschein tells these fascinating stories in ways that illuminate their historical, technological, scientific, philosophical, sociological, and theological aspects. This is a fun book that invites the cliché, 'It's about time.'"

- Kelly DeVries, Loyola University Maryland, coauthor of Medieval Military Technology

"On Time puts the social on both sides of the technology we have developed to mark time. Mondschein moves effortlessly and engagingly between technical definitions and social implications, offering both a history of the science and technology of timekeeping and an exploration of the enduring impact of time as it keeps on slipping into the future."

- Steven A. Walton, Michigan Technological University, coeditor of Mathematical Practitioners and the Transformation of Natural Knowledge in Early Modern Europe
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 13 To 17

9781421438276 : on-time-mondschein
Paperback / softback
September 15, 2020
$29.95 USD
9781421438283 : on-time-mondschein
Electronic book text
September 15, 2020
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