Review: 1947: Where Now Begins

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First Book of 2019

For my first book review of 2019, I’ve picked a book that looks at how the current “world” started and how “time” is conceived.  If you are a challenge lover, this book is a translation, too. It was originally published in 2016 in Swedish.

The Premise

Time, historical time, daily time–how do we understand it? How does it create us and our reality? This is a big philosophical question for a small book to answer, but I believe it does so just fine.

The Structure

The author focuses on various people, events, phenomenon, to illustrate the birth of “today” in the post World War II year, 1947. Cycling like a Julian Fellows script through Mountbatten’s India, the refugee ship Exodus and the birth of Israel, the supposed sightings of “flying saucers” (1 in 10 Americans then had heard of the flying saucers but less than half knew of the Marshall Plan) to Billy Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Simone de Beauvoir, George Orwell, on to the aiding and abetting of fleeing Nazis and the preservation of their culture in spite of the news-dominating Nuerenburg Trials, and more. The book cycles thru each month of the year and then thru various events and topics each month to illustrate the movement of time through the cycle of the year.

A Nice Surprise

I’ve long admired Admiral Grace Hopper and I was pleased to see that she rated a significant mention as she dealt at Harvard with programming an early computer–work that led her to create the COBOL programming language.

My Verdict

I’ve been in a reading slump for months. This book had the right “heft,” the right “speed” to help me return to the world of books. It lead me to watch a documentary on the Exodus and to recall various books and events I studied in my political science degree years ago. While I questioned some of the author’s inclusions and exclusions, on the whole, this was a fascinating little book.

4 Stars

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Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

6 thoughts on “Review: 1947: Where Now Begins

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