Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 300s

383: Orphans Preferred by Christopher Corbett

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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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351: Great Government Goofs by Leland H. Gregory

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351.0207: Gregory, Leland H. Great Government Goofs: Over 350 Loopy Laws, Hilarious Screwups, and Act-Idents of Congress. New York: Dell, 1997. 259 pp. ISBN 0-440-50786-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 350: Public administration and military science
  • 351: Public administration
  • +0207: Humor

Over the course of American history, thousands of people have been a part of its governance. Given that number of people over that long of a time, and you’re bound to encounter some strange incidents. Add state, county, and local governments and you have a sample size ripe for the picking. Leland H. Gregory’s Great Government Goofs packages a large assortment of these odd governmental occurrences for our quick amusement.

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350: Three Victorian Women Who Changed Their World by Nancy Boyd

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350.420922: Boyd, Nancy. Three Victorian Women Who Changed Their World: Josephine Butler, Octavia Hill, Florence Nightingale. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1982. 251 pp. ISBN 0-19-520271-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 350: Public administration and military science
  • 350.42: Public administration in England and Wales
  • +0922: Biographies of collected persons

Somehow in all my reading across myriad subjects, I seem to have never come across the fact that Florence Nightingale was British. In fact, she was born to British parents in Florence (hence her name). Nightingale, along with Octavia Hill and Josephine Butler, were instrumental in rise of feminism in Victorian England. Nancy Boyd’s Three Victorian Women Who Changed Their World chronicles the lives, efforts, and legacy of these three to show that Victorian England was not as backward and stodgy and folks tend to think.

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379: Turn Away Thy Son by Elizabeth Jacoway

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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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317: Datapedia of the United States, edited by George Kurian

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317.3: Kurian, George Thomas, Ed. Datapedia of the United States, 1790-2005: America Year By Year. Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, 2001. 557 pp. ISBN 0-89059-256-X.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 310: Statistics
  • 317: General statistics of North America
  • 317.3: General statistics of United States

If there’s anything that’s sure to flock readers to your book, it’s five hundred pages of data tables. George Kurian’s Datapedia of the United States is a monumental undertaking. He has curated data from hundreds of sources and collated them into different tables and graphs to show how the United States has changed statistically over the past 215 years. He organizes this information into 25 different major groups, ranging from general stats to agriculture to manufacturing to government. If there’s a statistic you’re looking for, it’s probably in here. Each section starts off with an array of interesting factoids, and then he dives headfirst into the data. Here’s just a sample:

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386: Wedding of the Waters by Peter Bernstein

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386.4809747: Bernstein, Peter L. Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. 381 pp. ISBN 0-393-05233-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transport
  • 386: Inland waterway and ferry transportation
  • 386.4: Canal transportation
  • 386.48: Small craft and barge canals
  • +09747: United States—New York

At the beginning of the 19th century, the United States was just getting its feet wet as a nation. One of the many problems in governing the country was simply its size. Getting news and goods from one side of the colonies to another could take an inordinately long time. At the time, water-based travel was the fastest, but boats could get to only so many cities. But in 1807, an interesting idea came along to cut a waterway from New York all the way across the state to Lake Erie. Barges could travel from the eastern seaboard to the Great Lakes. From there goods to be delivered to inland cities or even taken to the Mississippi River system. Peter Bernstein’s Wedding of the Waters tells the story of the planning, politics, and piloting of the Erie Canal.

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375: The Struggle for the American Curriculum by Herbert Kliebard

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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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