Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 070s

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

DDC_073

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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074: Paris Herald by Al Laney

DDC_074

074: Laney, Al. Paris Herald: The Incredible Newspaper. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1947. 330 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 000: Computer science, information, and general works
  • 070: Documentary media, educational media, news media, journalism, and publishing
  • 074: Journalism and newspapers in France and Monaco

James Gordon Bennett, Jr. had lost a duel and couldn’t bare the shame of living in New York any more. He was a rich socialite who had had several brushes with public and personal shame and so decided to sail his yacht to Europe. He was already the publisher of the New York Herald and when he got to Paris, he launched a newspaper in Paris for expatriates in 1887. He was a man of extreme whim and wild ambition. He had a habit of firing reporters and copyreaders and then forgetting about it the next day. In the end, his paper helped to transform the Paris reporting scene and bring new life to Americans living abroad.

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070: The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson

070.44992: Johnson, Marilyn. The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasure of Obituaries. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. 223 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-075876-9.

Included in the general knowledge section of the DDC (000s) are the newspapers of the world. After general organizations in the 060s but before the books of general collections (read “books of quotations”) in the 080s, newspapers occupy the 070s. Each geographic region of newpapers gets their own section albeit with a lot of bias. U.S. papers fall in 071, British ones in 072, and so forth (newspapers from “other parts of the world” get stuffed into 079). If you write a book about newspapers in general (or are a world newspaper) or look into newspapers from different parts of the world, you get moved to the top–070.

Marilyn Johnson, in The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasure of Obituaries, roams America and Britain to both read obituaries and interview those that write them. The book starts out a little unsettling. I mean, who wants to read an entire book about the deaths of other people? If you give the book a chapter to warm up, the world of obituaries and obituarists becomes utterly fascinating.

Johnson, while including a few nods to legitimately famous people and their demise, generally skews towards the Ordinary Joe obit, relishing in finding those who were known as San Fran’s most knowledgeable sadomasochist or who survived the Russian Revolution only to come to the U.S. and work in a plastics factory. It’s the little details that make people seem more real to the reader and to us. She talks to some of those whose job it is to interview the family just after the death and piece together a fitting send-off. Obituarists are more than eulogists, they try to write the richest biography they can with the time they have available.

The book itself is a quick read (it took me 5 or 6 hours, with breaks) and does a good job at keeping the reader entertained. The frequent interspersing of actual obits may seem jarring at first, but they help to cleanse the palate after heavy discourse with the writers. One of the many items of interest is the realization there is actually an annual meeting of obituarists held to bring these quirky writers together and share their secrets. And it’s open to the public.