Spring Forward (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
The detailed analysis of a seemingly small thing has been a trend at the turn of the twenty-first century. Mark Kurlansky devoted more than four hundred pages to Salt: A World History (2002), following his Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (1997). Dava Sobel’s Longitude (1995), John McPhee’s The Founding Fish (2002), and Philip Ball’s Life’s Matrix: A Biography of Water (2000), written by true polymaths, show the heights to which this form can soar, pulling together history, literature, philosophy, and science in wonderfully engaging prose. In 2005, two more authors have attempted to join this noble roster with similar books: David Prerau, with Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time, and Michael Downing, with Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. In Downing’s case, a tremendous amount of research has been devoted to uncovering the history of Daylight Saving Time, and he is eager to share everything he knows.
Most people in the United States turn back their clocks one hour in the fall (that is, they “fall back”) and ahead one hour in the spring (they “spring forward”), without having any clear sense of the history of what they are doing. Few know exactly when the clocks are supposed to be adjusted, although federal law mandates when the change will occur. Practically no one understands what the term...
(The entire section is 1821 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!