Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (Hardback)
  • Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (Hardback)
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Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (Hardback)

(author)
£39.00
Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 26/04/2013
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The public spaces and buildings of the United States are home to many thousands of timepieces - bells, time balls, and clock faces - that tower over urban streets, peek out from lobbies, and gleam in store windows. And in the streets and squares beneath them, men, women, and children wear wristwatches of all kinds. Americans have decorated their homes with clocks and included them in their poetry, sermons, stories, and songs. As political instruments, social tools, and cultural symbols, these personal and public timekeepers have enjoyed a broad currency in art, life, and culture. In "Marking Modern Times", Alexis McCrossen relates how the American preoccupation with time led people from across social classes to acquire watches and clocks. While noting the difficulties in regulating and synchronizing so many timepieces, McCrossen expands our understanding of the development of modern time discipline, delving into the ways we have standardized time and describing how timekeepers have served as political, social, and cultural tools in a society that doesn't merely value time, but regards access to time as a natural-born right, a privilege of being an American.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226014869
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"A precise, acute, and well-measured monograph. It lucidly tracks change over time, spanning about four full generations, and gets better and better as it runs along. . . . What a timely book!"
--Journal of Social History
"Marking Modern Times is a terrific book. Creative, well researched, well written and original, Alexis McCrossen's account of public time and public clocks really captures nineteenth century notions of time and timekeeping. Her documentation of this era is really superb."--Michael O'Malley, author of Face Value: The Entwined Histories of Money and Race in America
"Marking Modern Times beautifully captures a complicated history behind the remarkable timepieces that once adorned our streets and public buildings. Like a good cultural historian, Alexis McCrossen picks up a story we have missed--'a public clock era' punctuated by war and peace, poverty and prosperity, by the wishes of local jewelers, railroad magnates, reforming politicians and the federal government. And the illustrations are a delight!"--Ann Fabian, author of The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America's Unburied Dead
"Alexis McCrossen's Marking Modern Times is a rich and fascinating book full of wonderful detail about the visibility of time and the material history of timekeeping in America. This is a deeply researched study that speaks to readers across a variety of fields, from urban history and cultural history to the histories of technology and time."--David Henkin, author of The Postal Age: The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America
"McCrossen successfully avoids one-dimensional explanations, instead examining a wide variety of people, places, technologies and social practices which together influenced the adoption of clock time. . . . Marking Modern Times is an innovative contribution on a key historical shift in modern life. The nuance of McCrossen's argument is complimented by a variety of rich visual examples of clocks, advertisements and urban streetscapes."--Urban History

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