Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

383: Orphans Preferred by Christopher Corbett


383.1430973: Corbett, Christopher. Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express. New York: Broadway Books, 2003. 255 pp. ISBN 0-7679-0692-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transportation
  • 383: Postal communication
  • 383.1 Mail handling
  • 383.14: Transportation systems, collection, and delivery
  • 383.143: Overland mail
  • +0973: United States

We know this much is true: In 1860, the business trio of Russell, Majors, & Waddell set about to revolutionize overland mail delivery in the United States. Backed by a congressional blessing (but not by congressional money), they sought to deliver mail to the citizens of California faster than ever before. Normally, mail took anywhere from one to six months to go from the East Coast to the West Coast, but the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company strove to cut that down to ten days. From the moment the first rider struck from St. Joseph, Missouri, the Pony Express became steep in folklore and American myth. Christopher Corbett’s Orphans Preferred tries to wrangle truth from the mouth of history to get to the most accurate picture of the Express he can.

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115: Time by Eva Hoffman


115: Hoffman, Eva. Time. New York: Picador, 2009. 189 pp. ISBN 978-0-312-42727-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 110: Metaphysics
  • 115: Time

Time is all at once the most universal, the most intangible, and the most misunderstood concept. We make time, take time, keep time, lose time, waste time, borrow time, but never really understand it. Eva Hoffman’s Time takes a look at time from four different vantage points: physiologically, psychologically, culturally, and contemporaneously. And in each perspective, we see time in a whole new light.

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982: A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century by Luis Alberto Romero


982.06: Romero, Luis Alberto. A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century. Translated by James P. Brennan. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. 349 pp. ISBN 0-271-02192-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 980: History of South America
  • 982: History of Argentina
  • 982.06: Period of later republic, 1861 to present

In his History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century, Luis Romero tries to write a different kind of history. He has “attempted to reconstruct the history—complex, contradictory, and unique—of a society that unquestionably has experienced better moment and that finds itself currently at one of the lowest points in its history but whose future is not, I trust, definitively sealed.” This is remarkable for two reasons. First, he is not out to champion is country, and second, he owns up to the fact that history is sometimes contradictory and unfun.

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834: If the War Goes On by Hermann Hesse


834.912: Hesse, Hermann. If the War Goes On…: Reflections on War and Politics. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973. 186 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 830: Literatures of Germanic languages
  • 834: German essays
  • 834.9: 1900 to present
  • 834.91: 1900 to 1990
  • 834.912: 1900 to 1945

The two World Wars of the 20th century were unfathomably polarizing. There were those who believed war was necessary to defeat either national or global enemies, and those who believed acts of aggression and war were counter to our enlightened place in history. Hermann Hesse, in If the War Goes On, is vehemently against war. In this collection of 27 essays, Hesse explores his own feelings about war and also the experiences of living through both great calamities.

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239: The Culting of America by Ron Rhodes


239.9: Rhodes, Ron. The Culting of America. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1994. 224 pp. ISBN 1-56507-186-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 230: Christianity and Christian theology
  • 239: Apologetics and polemics
  • 239.9: Polemics against other groups in postapostolic times

For more than 2,000 years, Christianity has been shaped and reshaped by both its believers and its leaders. Sometimes, change happens in reaction to other faiths and sometimes, that change comes from within. Much like the other major world religions, Christianity and Christians can be categorized and subcategorized based on how they interpret their holy text or texts. There are Baptists, Adventists, Calvinists, Jesuits, and so on. Ron Rhodes’s The Culting of America is a polemical look at differing new sects of religion and how they can either shape or threaten modern Christianity.

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511: Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes by Bryan Bunch


511.3: Bunch, Bryan. Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1997. 210 pp. ISBN 0-486-29664-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 510: Mathematics
  • 511: General principles of mathematics
  • 511.3: Mathematical logic

About every month or so, diagrams go around social media proving various paradoxes. From proving 2 = 3, or that certain infinite series converge to -1/12, these proofs often use fallacious logic or hidden steps to achieve their ends. Bryan Bunch’s Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes collects eight such examples to help broaden our understanding of both logic and math. Be wary, though, this is not for the faint heart.

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478: Learn Latin by Peter Jones


478.2421: Jones, Peter. Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction to Reading the Language. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1997. 169 pp. ISBN 0-7607-0842-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic and Latin languages
  • 478: Classical Latin usage
  • 478.2: Structural approach to the classical Latin usage
  • 478.24: For persons whose native language is different
  • +21: For persons whose native language is English

Latin is by default an odd language. No speaks it anymore, but knowing it is considered a sign of erudition, and the countless books for learning Latin out there speak to a demand for learning the language. One of the many problems with Latin is that it is incredibly compact and nuanced. Changing the order of the words, the endings of verbs, or even missing a single letter changes the entire meaning of what is being said. Peter Jones’s Learn Latin is a rather interesting approach to learning the language that deserves a closer look.

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