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The Calendar - David Ewing Duncan ***

Update from early review which had been lost
The 5,000 year struggle to align the clock with reality - and what happened to the missing ten days. Struggle is the word. It wasn't until 1949 that China joined the rest of the world on the Gregorian calendar - and the rest of us still suffered many hundreds of years on calendars that were hopelessly adrift with respect reality.

There is a good opportunity for a mix of exploring historical characters and the very arbitrary formation of the 'human' side of the calendar - why is February the short month? Why is the tenth month called the eighth? - alongside the gradual astronomical developments that would pin the calendar the motion of the earth.

Like many of the very tightly focused popular science books, this can be a little samey in places, but it is a fascinating story and rewards the reader throughout with delightful insights. What it lacks in narrative flow, it makes up with information that is well worth the effort.

Review by Peter Spitz


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