Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

379: Turn Away Thy Son by Elizabeth Jacoway


379.2630976773: Jacoway, Elizabeth. Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis that Shocked the Nation. New York: Free Press, 2007. 362 pp. ISBN 978-0-7432-9719-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 370: Education
  • 379: Public policy issues in education
  • 379.2: Specific polcy issues in public education
  • 379.26: Educational equalization
  • 379.263: School desegregation
  • +0976773: Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States

In September 1957, nine students attended their first day at Little Rock Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas. Normally, this wouldn’t have made for national news, but these nine students were African-American and they were the first ones to ever attend this school. They were surrounded by a military escort and news cameras. Elizabeth Jacoway’s Turn Away Thy Son is an in-depth look at the political and social atmosphere that pervaded the decision to desegregate Arkansas schools.

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936: Attila by John Man


936.03092: Man, John. Attila: The Barbarian King Who Challenged Rome. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005. 311 pp. ISBN 978-0-312-53939-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 930: History of the ancient world to 499 CE
  • 936: Europe north and west of the Italian Peninsula to 499 CE
  • 03: 200 BCE to 499 CE
  • +092: Biography

We learn from early history classes in school that Attila the Hun was a brutish, savage leader, bent on beating down the mighty Roman empire. Attila sprang from the dark recesses of northern Europe to lay siege to the civilized people of the Mediterranean. But this story is decidedly one-sided and lacking in nuance. In John Man’s Attila, he tries to gives flesh and blood to the skeleton of the tale. Man attempts to give this historical ghost a context and finds much more than we expected.

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073: The Captive Press in the Third Reich by Oron Hale


073: Hale, Oron J. The Captive Press in the Third Reich. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973. 323 pp. ISBN 0-691-00770-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 000: Computer Science, Information, and General Works
  • 070: News media, journalism, and publishing
  • 073: Newspapers in central Europe and Germany

One of the best ways to make sure everybody’s on the same page, is to make sure thtey’re all reading the same pages. Part of the Nazi propoganda machine was to fully subvert German newspaper companies and publishing houses. Through an intricate weaving of interviews, business documents, and military records, Oron Hale details this process in The Captive Press in the Third Reich. This book goes through how the Nazi party outright bought some newspapers, put members in key positions at others, and then choked out any opposing viewpoints in the remaining news media, thus ensuring universal saturation of their message and mandates.

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790: Mongo by Ted Botha


790.132: Botha, Ted. Mongo: Adventures in Trash. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004. 242 pp. ISBN 1-58234-567-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 790: Recreational and performing arts
  • 790.1: General kinds of recreational activities
  • 790.13: Activities generally engaged in by individuals
  • 790.132: Collecting

If you’ve ever seen an object on the side of the road or fished something from a dumpster or a trash pile, then you’ve engaged in mongo. In the traditional sense, mongo is any object that been discarded but now retrieved. Mongo can either be for profit or pleasure (or sometimes both). Mongo culture comes with many different subdivisions: people mongo for food, books, furniture, car parts, antiques, or just for decoration. For some, mongo is their only way of surviving, and for others, it’s a side project. Ted Botha’s Mongo is look into this often-invisible subculture.

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660: Shrinking the Cat by Sue Hubbell


660.65: Hubbell, Sue. Shrinking the Cat: Genetic Engineering Before We Knew About Genes. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. 160 pp. ISBN 0-618-04027-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 660: Chemical engineering and related technologies
  • 660.6: Biotechnology
  • 660.65: Genetic engineering

Every living thing on the planet has been genetically modified. Each generation forces changes on the next. Most of the time, this modification is natural and inevitable, but sometimes a helping hand intervenes. Ever since humans learned how to grow food, they have been selectively breeding crops that begat more and more resources. In Shrinking the Cat, Sue Hubbell looks at the history of genetic engineering through four species—the corn plant, the silkworm, the cat, and the apple—to get a better sense of the ethics and benefits of human tinkering.

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229: Reading Judas by Pagels and King


229.8: Pagels, Elaine and Karen L. King. Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. New York: Viking Penguin, 2007. 165 pp. ISBN 0-6700-3845-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 220: The Bible
  • 229: Apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and other intertestamental works
  • 229.8: Pseudo gospels

In Christian history, Jesus Christ gathered twelve people to his side to be his apostles and spread his beliefs throughout the world. According to The Bible, Judas Iscariot accepts payment of thirty silver coins from the Sanhedrin priests and agrees to point out Jesus to the local authorities so that he can be captured and tried for purporting to be the Son of God. Judas’s betrayal results in the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection as depicted later in the Gospels. The traditional telling of this matter is done by the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—, but what if Judas himself got a say in the matter? In the 1970s, a papyrus codex was discovered near Beni Masah, Egypt which appears to be from Judas’s point of view. In Reading Judas, Elaine Pagels and Karen King tackle the new text to see if it can shed new light on old mythology.

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587: Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks

587.097274: Sacks, Oliver. Oaxaca Journal. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2002. 159 pp. ISBN 0-7922-6521-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 580: Botany
  • 587: Pteridophyta
  • +097274: North America—Mexico—Oaxaca


First of all, this book is about ferns. It’s about people from all walks of life, all educational backgrounds, and all nationalities who love ferns. Oliver Sacks, noted neuroscientist and author, counts himself among their number. He is a legitimate card-carrying member of the American Fern Society. Ferns don’t get a lot of love from supposed plant lovers and botanists. They belong to the plant group Pteridophyta, reproduce by spores, and don’t have flowers. But Sacks loves them all. Some time back, he got to go on a “fern foray” to Oaxaca, Mexico with some fellow enthusiasts from the AFS. Oaxaca Journal takes us with him.

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