Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: October, 2013

978: The Heart of Everything That Is by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin


978.0049752: Drury, Bob and Tom Clavin. The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. 365 pp. ISBN 978-1-4516-5466-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 970: History of North America
  • 978: History of the Western United States
  • 978.00497: History of American Native peoples (Great Plains)
  • 978.0049752: Siouan Indians

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin come together in The Heart of Everything That Is to tell the tale of a forgotten man. Red Cloud, a member of the Oglala Lakota peoples, was born near the Platte River in 1821. In the beginning, he was trained as a superb warrior, fighting against other nations, namely the Pawnee and the Crow. But then gunfire came across the Great Plains. Gold rushers, homesteaders, and the US military blazed trails into the newly created states of Missouri, Arkansas, and Iowa. But, when settlers threatened to rob the Powder River Country in Wyoming and Montana of its resources and new forts emerged with new enemies, Red Cloud, with the help of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, fought back. The nation had just ended the Civil War the previous year, but was again at odds with people in its own borders.

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201: Ecology and Religion by John Grim and Mary Tucker


201.77: Grim, John and Mary Evelyn Tucker. Ecology and Religion. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2013. 172 pp. ISBN 978-1-5972-6707-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 201: Religious mythology, general classes of religion, interreligious relations and attitudes, and social theology
  • 201.7: Attitudes of religion towards social issues
  • 201.77: Environment

How one views their religion has a relationship with how one views the environment in which they live. Since many religions have tenets on how to relate to members of society, they already teach basic values of respect and reciprocation, but authors John Grin and Mary Tucker take these teachings on step further. They postulate that each major religion contains parallel teaching that allow the adherent to form a relationship with nature. In Ecology and Religion, they expound on the theory that each major world religion gives the reader a piece of a larger way of connecting to nature.

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179: Stay by Jennifer Hecht


179.7: Hecht, Jennifer M. Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013. 234 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-18608-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics
  • 179: Other ethical norms
  • 179.7: Respect and disrespect for human life

Suicide is by no means an easy topic to discuss. Throughout history, art, and literature, real people and fictional characters have chosen to end their own life in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Jennifer Hecht’s main premise in her book on the history of the topic is that one should stay. Stay and work through the pain, the depression, the anger. Stay with those that love you. Stay because we need you. Hecht traces the history of recorded suicides back to ancient Rome and looks at historical and modern arguments surrounding the act. It uses key historical suicides to clarify the responses and the philosophies concerning suicide.

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949: Justinian’s Flea by William Rogen


949.5013: Rosen, William. Justinian’s Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire. New York: Penguin, 2008. 324 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-311381-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 940: History of Europe and Western Europe
  • 949: History of other parts of Europe
  • 949.5: History of Greece
  • 949.501: Early history to 717 AD
  • 949.5013: Early Byzantine period, 323 AD to 171 AD

When boats arrived in Constantinople from Egypt in 541 AD, they weren’t carrying just exotic foods and trinkets. Rats and fleas from the lower holds scrambled into the new landscape, and with them came the plague. The disease swept through port cities, leaving corpses riddled with black buboes in its wake. At its peak, ten thousand people a day died in Constantinople. William Rosen’s Justinian’s Flea takes a look at the damage this microscopic agent caused to humans and how that affected history for centuries to come.

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785: Roll With It by Matt Sakakeeny


785.0650976335: Sakakeeny, Matt. Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013. 192 pp. ISBN 978-0-8223-5567-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts
  • 780: Music
  • 785: Ensembles with only instrument per part
  • 785.065: Jazz ensembles
  • +0976335: Orleans Parish, Louisiana, United States

Perhaps one of the best known cultural products of New Orleans outside of beignets and Mardi Gras is the jazz ensemble. Countless aspiring musicians gather there to truly understand the music and their craft. Matt Sakakeeny’s Roll With It travels alongside these ensembles in Post-Katrina New Orleans and tries to get inside the culture that pervades the city. He follows three different bands—Hot 8, Rebirth, and The Soul Rebels—as they deal with everyday issues and continue to raise the caliber of jazz music. A lot of the narrative focuses on jazz funeral processions and their impact on the social landscape, and while death forms an unnerving backdrop to the story, it’s the lives of the artists that make it interesting.

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516: Beautiful Geometry by Eli Maor and Eugen Jost


516: Maor, Eli and Eugen Jost. Beautiful Geometry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013. 173 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-15099-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 510: Mathematics
  • 516: Geometry

If you want to love, or even like, geometry again, then this book might just do it. Beautiful Geometry pairs Maor’s elegant proofs with Jost’s vivid illustrations to help the layman understand geometry. They start with the basics—point, lines, and shapes—and work their way to Euclid, then prime geometry, infinite series, the golden ratio, experimentation with pi, parabolic geometry, and even fractals and epicycloids. There’s a fair amount of history on famous geometers and how they arrived at their discoveries. At the very least, if the proofs bore you, you can always marvel at the visuals. They’re worth the cost of admission. A quick and pretty book.

523: The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson


523.4922: Tyson, Neil deGrasse. The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. 176 pp. ISBN

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 520: Astronomy
  • 523: Specific celestial bodies and phenomena
  • 523.4: Planets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects of the Solar system
  • 523.49: Trans-Neptunian objects
  • 523.492: Kuiper belt objects
  • 523.4922: Pluto

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Pluto Files claims to chronicle the history of the “planet” Pluto and it mostly accomplishes this feat. His history of the discovery of the last planet is a little thin, but there may not be much more to tell. Clyde Tombaugh discovered it while chasing Percival Lowell’s dream of a distant Planet X. Clyde’s find wound its way into the hearts and minds of many a schoolchild, but now there is a debate raging as to whether Pluto is really a planet at all. The bulk of Tyson’s story in confined to the last decade, when his new post as Director of Hayden Planetarium put him in charge of a new addition to the building. He decided, with the help of other scientists and a public panel on Pluto, to group planets into distinct characteristic groups: Terrestrial Planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars), Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus) and Kuiper Belt Objects (Pluto included). Then all hell broke loose. The Museum, a trusted institution, had neglected to count Pluto in the number of planets that everyone had grown up learning about. The debate included almost every astrophysicist alive, the International Astronomical Union, and even third-graders. In the end, the Tyson’s treatise is more about the definition of the word “planet” than the question surrounding the properties of Pluto. And while the IAU has formally created a definition, most of the scientists involved are more concerned about cataloging the properties and new knowledge about Pluto than about what to call it.

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