Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 300s

366: The Hiram Key by Knight and Lomas


366.1: Knight, Christopher and Robert Lomas. The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2001. 356 pp. ISBN 1-931412-75-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 360: Social problems and services; associations
  • 366: Associations
  • 366.1: Freemasonry

Christopher Knight’s and Robert Lomas’s The Hiram Key is a laughable “history” of secret societies, the Freemasons, Judeo-Christian historical figures, and Egyptian Gnosticism. Therein lies the problem with writing about secret societies. Not much can either be proven or disproven. Their very clandestine nature requires that they do not leave a lot of historical documentation in their wake. Lomas and Knight try unflaggingly to connect small clues in artifacts and letters together to illustrate an alternate reading of history. They include the classic story of Jesus’s hidden family and the Rosslyn Chapel conspiracy along with evidence of an Egyptian influence on Judaism and the existence of secret scrolls that tell the true story of Freemasonry.

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356: To Dare and To Conquer by Derek Leebaert


356.1609: Leebaert, Derek A. To Dare and To Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations, From Achilles to Al Qaeda. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2006. 596 pp. ISBN 0-316-14384-7.

Dewy Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 350: Public administration and military science
  • 356: Foot forces and warfare
  • 356.1: Infantry
  • 346.16: Troops having special combat functions
  • +09: History

Almost everyone in the Western hemisphere knows the story of the Trojan horse. A small band of fighters hid inside a giant wooden horse left at the gates of Troy while the Greeks pretend to sail away. Once brought inside, the men crawl out of the horse and wreak havoc on the sleeping city. Throughout history, there are many stories of elite groups of soldiers outwitting, outfighting, or outflanking a much larger army. Whether through perfect subterfuge or simply engaging the enemy with better tactics, special operations forces often change the course of a battle, a war, and even history itself. Derek Leebaert’s To Dare and To Conquer is a voluminous catalogue of such forces and how their stories intertwine with both their culture and their history.

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381: Store Wars by David Monod


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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363: Puppetmaster by Richard Hack


363.25092: Hack, Richard. Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press, 2004. 407 pp. ISBN 1-893224-87-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 360: Social problems, services, and associations
  • 363: Other social problems and services
  • 363.2: Police services
  • 363.25: Detection of crime
  • +092: Biography

There are about as many myths about J. Edgar Hoover as there are truths. While head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1935 to 1972, there were stories of homosexual trysts with his assistant director Clyde Tolson and that he routinely wore women’s clothing. While these are rumors just the same, they linger in the national psyche. Richard Hack’s Puppetmaster tries to get a more complete picture of the man behind one of the nation’s largest investigative groups.

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315: On an Average Day in Japan by Tom Heymann


315.7: Heymann, Tom. On An Average Day in Japan. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1992. 206 pp. ISBN 0-449-90607-8.

Dewey Construction:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 310: General statistics
  • 315: General statistics of Asia
  • 315.7: General statistics of Japan

This is another one of Tom Heymann’s collections of demographic statistics. Only a few special writers have ever made statistics/demographics interesting. Tom Heymann isn’t one of them. On An Average Day in Japan is a dated collection of demographics about the Japanese people and what happens on the average day. Each page has a quick set of stats on consumerism, medical behavior, births and deaths, addiction, news media, etc. Most of the figures given are then contrasted with the same general measure for the American population. Read it if you have to; skip it of you don’t.

357: Chariot by Arthur Cotterell


357.1: Cotterell, Arthur. Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World’s First War Machine. New York: Overlook Press, 2005. 298 pp. ISBN 1-58567-667-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Science
  • 350: Public administration and military science
  • 357: Mounted forces and warfare
  • 357.1: Horse cavalry

There are two great inventions in the early history of humanity: writing and wheels. While writing helped transmit information from place to place faster, the wheel actually got people from place to place faster. Attach newly domesticated horses to the front of a basket with wheel and you have yourself a chariot. Early chariots were invented in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE and they are seen in mosaic reliefs dated to five hundred years after that. They served as parade vehicles, battle taxis for archers, and used in races for public spectacle. For a while, they were the greatest weapons used in large-scale warfare, but strategists and inventors found ways around them. Forcing the battle onto uneven terrain or immobilizing the horses left the chariots unable to effectively take the field. Arthur’s Cotterell’s Chariot is a spectacular look into the history of, uses for, and stories about the first great war machine.

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393: American Afterlife by Kate Sweeney


393: Sweeney, Kate. American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2014. 232 pp. ISBN 978-0-8203-4600-7. Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 390: Customs and etiquette
  • 393: Death customs

Every 14 seconds, some one dies in the United States. But how do we mourn those deaths? How do current mourning practices compare to those of the past? And what do new innovations and practices in the funerary industry have to say about the social landscape of the country? Kate Sweeney’s American Afterlife looks at all these facets of the American funerary, burial, and death services to get a picture of how we deal with the loss of a loved one. Read the rest of this entry »