365: Modern History, By Gerard Cheshire with John Farndon

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The Independent Culture

A calendar year of the most significant dates in post-war history – each entry is an informative, one- or two-page essay on such events as the invention of the world wide web, the inaugural meeting of the UN, the birth of David Bowie, the break-up of the Beatles, the space-flight of Yuri Gagarin, the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the LA riots, the launch of the first transistor radio, and the election of the world's first female Prime Minister (Ceylon, 20 July 1960).

The author's preoccupations shine through: technological breakthroughs, pop music, the 1960s, the Second World War, scientific discoveries and anniversaries (especially useful for those dates on which nothing much happened in the post-war period – thus we have entries for the bicentenaries of the USA and of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain). On today's date in 1977, by the way, Elvis Presley was found dead in his bathroom.

It's a dipper of a book, and a moreish one. But the writing can be slapdash. Someone, at some stage of the editing process, should have informed the authors that the phrase "Despite, or perhaps in spite of" does not make very much sense.