Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Month: July, 2014

375: The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert Kliebard


375.00973: Kliebard, Herbert M. The Struggle for the American Curriculum: 1893-1958. New York: Routledge, 1995. 252 pp. ISBN 0-414-91013-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 370: Education
  • 375: Curricula
  • +0973: United States

If you’ve ever heard a parents talking about their child’s education, then you have at least encountered one person who thinks there is a better way to teach children. Trying to implement a curriculum that will have better and lasting effects on so many students is perhaps one of the hardest tasks there is. Teachers have to deal with countless varied personalities and an ever-increasing knowledge pool. From the 1890s onward in America, educators, philosophers, and legislators have tried to steer the course of education, and Herbert Kliebard’s Struggle for the American Curriculum traces each school of thought to see how they fared.

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855: Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy


855: Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy: A Selection from the Speeches Delivered in the Italian Parliament by the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Tommaso Tittoni During His Six Years In Office (1903-1909). Translated by Baron Bernardo Quaranta di San Severino. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1914. 323 p.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 800: Literature
  • 850: Literatures of Italian, Sardinian, Dalmatian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic languages
  • 855: Italian speeches

Right off the bat, I feel I need to warn readers of this book. It’s a book of speeches given by a middlingly important government official to members of his country’s parliament. These are not remarks given on the world stage or by anyone that a majority of people have even heard of. Tommaso Tittoni was the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1903 to 1909, then again in 1919. He served a small stint as the Acting Prime Minister for 17 days in March 1905. He worked in various capacities for the Italian government for the majority of his life and as such became familiar with the ins and outs of world politics. The speeches collected in Italy’s Foreign and Colonial Policy show just how intertwined the world was at the turn of the 20th century.

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188: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius


188: Marcus Aurelius. Meditations. Free Kindle Edition, 2014. 132 pp. ISBN 1-4995-3013-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and Eastern philosophies
  • 188: Stoic philosophy

Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 CE. Considered the last of the Five Good Emperors, he oversaw his empire with stoicism and equality. In his Meditations, written while on a military campaign in the last decade of his life, he sets forth a series of aphorisms, letters, and principles that he tried to live by. As a stoic, he thought that powerful emotions were the cause of errors in life and so sought to live a life of a more moral and intellectual manner.

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494: Passions of the Tongue by Sumathi Ramaswamy


494.8110954: Ramaswamy, Sumathi. Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997. 258 pp. ISBN 0-520-20804-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Languages
  • 490: Other languages
  • 494: Altaic, Uralic, Hyperborean, and Dravidian languages
  • 494.8: Dravidian languages
  • 494.81: South Dravidian languages
  • 494.811: Tamil
  • +0954: South Asia/India

In the 1960s, men began to sacrifice themselves in the name of the Tamil language. Steadfastness to the Tamil language by inhabitants of Southern India was tantamount to a religion. But what lead to these beliefs? And what can be learned from both history and language when we view through the lens of language devotion? Sumathi Ramaswamy, in Passions of the Tongue, proposes a very new and interesting kind of linguistic study, and along the way, shows how both a people and a language evolved.

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570: Signs of Life by Ricard Sole and Brian Goodwin


570: Sole, Ricard and Brian Goodwin. Signs of Life: How Complexity Pervades Biology. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 303 pp. ISBN 0-465-01927-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Biology

If you’ve ever seen an array of beetles in a natural history museum or gone snorkeling, you have no doubt marveled at just how complex biology can be. There are millions upon millions of species on Earth, each following their own patterns. Those patterns encounter and interfere with other patterns to create the massive biosphere we have today. Ricard Sole and Brian Goodwin, in Signs of Life, try to parse out those patterns and how the science that occurs at the intersection of chaos, mathematics, and biology.

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254: Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams by Mary Katherine and David Compton


254.4: Compton, Mary Katherine and David Compton. Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams: Roadside Church Signs Across America. New York: New American Library, 2001. 134 pp. ISBN 0-451-20406-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 200: Religion
  • 250: Christian observances in daily life
  • 254: Parish administration
  • 254.4: Public relations and publicity

Mary and David Compton’s Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams is probably as simple a book as one can conceive. Go around, collect witty saying from church signs, and present them in a compact volume to be consumed quickly without much fluff. I literally cannot say much more about it. Some are funny, some fall flat, some are judgmental, and some are uninspired. There’s no real originality or synthesis here, just two hundred or so pieces of text from signs.

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608: Victorian Inventions by Leonard de Vries


608.7: de Vries, Leonard. Victorian Inventions. New York: American Heritage Press, 1971. 192 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 608: Inventions and patents
  • 608.7: Historical, geographic, and personal treatment of inventions and patents

If you’ve ever stayed up too late watching television, you’ve probably seen all manner of infomercials for interesting, crazy, outlandish, unnecessary, and even usable products. The thing is, someone had to invent all those items. From new bacon microwave racks to foot mops to gyroscopically-stabilized snack bowls, each one required thought, design, and materialization. This phenomenon is by no means a recent one. Folks have been coming up with new products and devices for hundreds of years. Leonard de Vries’s Victorian Inventions highlights one such era of imagination to show that we are not as removed from our past as we think.

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