December 12, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown

Current Status
In Season
Stephen Jay Gould
Science and Technology, Nonfiction, Essays
We gave it a B+

Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould loves dinosaurs, numbers, baseball — and a good yarn. In Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist’s Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown, his slim volume of musings on the meaning of the year 2000 — or is it 2001? — the scientist denounces the ”millennial madness” and plugs cave paintings, multicultural numerical systems, and his son’s astounding calculative abilities. With a humorous Everyman approach, Gould juggles a mind-boggling array of various calendrical concepts as he explains why creating a reliable calendar was one of man’s greatest struggles. Whether nailing down the precise date of the birth of Christ or airing his suspicion that God is a New York Yankees fan, Gould teaches rather than preaches. B+

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