What Time of Day Was That? History by the Minute, by...

Editor's Choice

September 23, 2001|By Michael Pakenham

What Time of Day Was That? History by the Minute, by Dale R. Patterson (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 374 pages, $18.95).

As contrived compilations of trivia go -- and many don't go very far -- this tricky but genuinely informative book is very engaging. It's organized in 24 chapters, one for each hour of the day. Within each are several dozen entries, clocked first for the minute on which the event occurred, then by date. There is no particular set of evident criteria except to satisfy casual curiosities. At 1:30 a.m., Nov. 30, 1874, Winston Churchill was born. At 3:58 a.m., March 29, 1979, the greatest nuclear accident in U.S. history began at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. At 11:07 a.m., Jan. 10, 1951, an Avro Jetliner, the world's first jet passenger trip, took off from Chicago bound for New York. At 11:58 p.m., May 31, 1962, Adolf Eichmann was hanged in an Israeli prison. And so on. You could build a game around it.

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