Time Zone Report

Following Daylight Saving Time legislation in the US

Books on Daylight Saving Time

In my research I’ve found references to two books published just on the topic of Daylight Saving Time.

  • Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, by Michael Downing, published 2005 by Shoemaker & Hoard, a division of Avalon Publishing Group
  • Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time, by David Prerau, published 2005 by Thunder’s Mouth Press, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group

These books came out around the time of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended Daylight Saving Time to run from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.  Apparently this year was a time of intense interest in the subject, as I’ve found no other books since then, though numerous newspaper and magazine articles continue to tackle the forwards and backwards of the clock.

I was able to get copies of both books through Amazon.  I think historians and scientists will go for Downing’s version, and the fiction readers among you will appreciate the Prerau version more.  And if you’re a time fanatic like me, you’ll get both.

Both books focused primarily on Daylight Saving Time in the United States, but each also did a good job of covering the historical elements that got us to where we are today.

Downing’s book seemed a bit more readable, though I admit that probably means “more readable to me”.  And while both books were informative and entertaining, Prerau’s book had illustrations, cartoons, and copies of newspaper headlines, and approached the subject with a bit more irreverence and humor, while Downing’s book focused on a more historical and chronological view of the concept’s development, with no illustrations beyond the paper cover jacket.  Downing’s simple cover had a black clock over a white clock, and Prerau’s had a large rooster bellowing out the book’s title as the sunlight appeared over the horizon, another indication of the split between orientations.

Having waded through countless web sites and reading many variants of the history and the making of Daylight Saving Time, it was nice to read two complete versions with slightly different perspectives, and get end-to-end views from before Ben Franklin to after the Uniform Time Act of 1966, when the feds took over the time chaos across the US.

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