Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 380s

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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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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381: Store Wars by David Monod

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381.10971: Monod, David. Store Wars: Shopkeepers and the Culture of Mass Marketing, 1890-1939. Toronto, ONT, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1996. 350 pp. ISBN 0-8020-7604-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transportation
  • 381: Commerce and trade
  • 381.1: Marketing channels
  • +0971: Canada

Between the close of the 19th century and the Second World War, the commercial landscape of Canada underwent a massive transformation. Corporate conglomerations emerged and the era of big box versus independent merchants began. There is this interesting and clichéd historical narrative that creeps into everyone’s minds that the birth of large, faceless companies leads to immediate hostilities from smaller ones. But the truth is never that simple. David Monod’s Store Wars tries desperately to set the records straight on how exactly the growth of the capitalist culture in Canada impacted the social and economic landscape.

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388: London Underground’s Strangest Tales by Iain Spragg

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388.4209421: Spragg, Iain. London Underground’s Strangest Tales: Extraordinary But True Stories. London: Portico Books, 2013. 176 pp. ISBN 978-1-9075-5497-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transport
  • 388: Transportation and ground transportation
  • 388.4: Local transportation
  • 388.42: Local rail transit systems
  • +09421: Greater London

Ever since it opened in 1863, the London Underground has helped to transport billions of travelers all over Greater London. Iain Spagg’s London Underground’s Strangest Tales provides a chronological collection of tidbits, asides, and goofball stories to help tell a different story of the train line’s history. While many of the chapters are interesting, coincidental, or historical, they aren’t really strange. Don’t get me wrong, the information presented here is fun and useful for a lot of trivia contests (like, for instance, only two people has ever been transported on the Tube on their way to be buried: Prime Minister William Gladstone and philanthropist Thomas Barnado). The writing is jovial and breezy and you can whiz through this book in a few hours, but don’t expect to be regaled with tales of intrigue and sensationalism. A quick and fun book.

385: Nothing Like It in the World by Stephen Ambrose

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385.0973: Ambrose, Stephen E. Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. 382 pp. ISBN 978-0-7432-0317-3.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transport
  • 385: Railroad transportation
  • +0973: United States

One of the many good things of having a weekend without a long to-do list is being able to indulge and enjoy your hobbies. Clearly, mine’s reading. I got an unprecedented 12 hours of free time this weekend and I put it to good use. Apart from catching up on e-mails and messages, I was able to sit and leisurely enjoy today’s book (most of the time, I’m a bit nervous about keeping my schedule). Stephen Ambrose’s Nothing Like It in the World is an incredibly thorough history of the building of the U.S. transcontinental railroad. When completed in 1869, it spanned from ocean to ocean, and was considered the foremost achievement of man.

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387: Tales of the Seven Seas by Dennis Powers

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387.5092: Powers, Dennis M. Tales of the Seven Seas: The Escapades of Captain Dynamite Johnny O’Brien. Lanham, MD:Taylor Trade, 2010. 263 pp. ISBN 978-1-58979-447-4.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transport
  • 387: Water, air, and space transportation
  • 387.5: Water transportation
  • +092: Biography

Recently, there have a few books with which I felt as though I was just going through the motions. I’d slog to get through paragraph after paragraph just to say I’d read it, and hope that the next one is worth it. The first ones that come to mind is the book about Herod the Great last week and the Chinese language and culture book last month.

But, then, like a delightful oasis in a dry landscape of prose, I get to one worth reading. Dennis Powers’s Tales of the Seven Seas is an energetic book about Captain Dynamite Johnny O’Brien. He was one of the last few great sailors to span the age of masted frigates and skilled sailing and the age of steamships. It was a very fun tale to read.

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384: The Phone Book by Ammon Shea

384.6025: Shea, Ammon. The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses But No One Reads. New York: Perigee, 2010. 200 pp. ISBN 978-0-399-53593-2.

The social sciences (300s) explore all the areas that cannot be distilled and quantifies by the hard sciences. One of these areas is how people transport things. This transportation includes not only manufactured goods, but also ideas and messages. The 380s in Dewey are devoted to commerce, communications, and transport. Telecommunication falls nicely under 384. 384.6 is for books on telephony, and 384.6025 is the special place where works on telephone directories go.

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