Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 950s

954: Curzon by David Gilmour

DDC_954

954.0355092: Gilmour, David. Curzon: Imperial Statesman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. 601 pp. ISBN 0-374-53024-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 950: History of Asia
  • 954: History of South Asia and India
  • 954.03: Period of British rule, 1785-1947
  • 954.035: Period of control by crown, 1858-1947
  • 954.0355: Governorships of 9th Earl of Elgin and Marquis of Curzon, 1894-1905
  • +092: Biography

George Nathaniel Curzon, the Most Honorable 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston, was indeed a very interesting fellow. He was the oldest son of Alfred Curzon, 4th Baron Scarsdale, and educated at Eton and Balliol. While his father considered it a waste of time, he ventured off the homestead and explored Russia and most of Central and Southeast Asia. His explorations of the Amu Darya (Oxus River) granted him admission into the Royal Geographic Society. His travels and extensive knowledge of the geography and politics of India led to his appointment as Viceroy of India in 1899. Even with his aristocratic upbringing, he strived to earn the loyalty and respect of his subjects, and even took efforts to ensure a proper restoration of the Taj Mahal. After returning to England, he became the Chancellor of Oxford, sat in the House of Lords, and became Foreign Secretary. Unfortunately, he was passed over for the post of Prime Minister in 1923 and died just a few years later.

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955: Revolutionary Iran by Michael Axworthy

DDC_955

955.054: Axworthy, Michael. Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 423 pp. ISBN 978-0-1993-2226-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and geography
  • 950: History of Asia
  • 955: History of Iran
  • 955.05: 1906-2005
  • 955.054: 1979-2005

In Revolutionary Iran, Michael Axworthy makes a wonderful observation: “Iranian history can be seen as a microcosm of human history as a whole: empires, revolutions, invasions, art, architecture, warriors, conquerors, great thinkers, great writers and poets, holy men and lawgivers, charismatic leaders and the blackest villains.” I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. Iran (and the Middle East) has been a focal point for civilization in all its good and bad forms for the last ten millennia. With the Iranian revolution of 1979, however, we see the nation of Iran enter into a new era, one where the traditions and battles of the past come head-to-head with the beliefs of its people and the pressures of a global society. Axworthy’s modern history of Iran is a thick, educated, and brilliant look into this often-misunderstood country.

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956: Contested Land, Contested Memory by Jo Roberts

DDC_956

956.04: Roberts, Jo. Contested Land, Contested Memory: Israel’s Jews and Arabs and the Ghosts of Catastrophe. Toronto: Dundurn, 2013. 264 pp. ISBN 978-1-4597-1011-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and geography
  • 950: History of Asia
  • 956: History of the Middle East and the Near East
  • 956.04: 1945-1980

Palestinians call it the “Nakba,” the catastrophe; to Israelis, it is the Day of Independence—the day that three-quarters of a million Palestinians were uprooted from their homes to make way for a mandated state of Israel. The Jewish population, who had been repeatedly kicked out every safe place in history, were given a land, a government, and a voice. Jo Roberts’s Contested Land, Contested Memory is an intricate look over the perilous decades that followed the creation of Israel using both regular historical documents as well as personal interviews and local reporting.

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953: Qatar by Mehran Kamrava

DDC_953

953.63: Kamrava, Mehran. Qatar: Small State, Big Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013. 174 pp. ISBN 978-0-8014-5209-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 950: History of Asia
  • 953: History of the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent areas
  • 953.6: Persian Gulf States
  • 953.63: Qatar

Qatar is a small, peninsular country on the Arabian coast. Inhabited by under 2 million people, it has grown immensely in the wake of the Middle East oil boom, and is now a big player on both the political and economic landscape of the region. Mehran Kamrava’s Qatar details the multifaceted history of the country since it gained independence in 1971. It’s a short book and covers the modern history of the peninsula, the somewhat complicated politics of the region, and the events that led to Qatar’s massive economic growth.

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951: Wealth and Power by Orville Schell and John Delury

DDC_951

951.05: Schell, Orville and John Delury. Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century. New York: Random House, 2013. 496 pp. ISBN 978-0-679-64347-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 950: History of Asia, the Orient, and the Far East
  • 951: History of China and adjacent areas
  • 951.05: 20th century

It’s mildly sad that the signing of the Unequal Treaties at the end of the First Opium War in 1842 signaled China’s entrance into the modern era. China’s cultural heritage had been one of self-sufficiency, technological innovation, and dynastic coherence. Rebellion after rebellion ended the 365-year rule of the Qing dynasty. After that the fledgling Republic of China struggled to become the power it once was, at least in the eyes of the West. Oliver Schell’s and John Delury Wealth and Power trace the cultural, political, and social history of China through the last two centuries to show how the nation has come to the stature it has today.

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950: Genghis Khan by Jack Weatherford

950.21092: Weatherford, Jack. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004. 271 pp. ISBN 0-609-80964-4.

Dewey Construction:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 950: General history of Asia
  • 950.21: Reign of Genghis Khan
  • +092: Biography

In the early parts of the 13th century BCE, one man united his people and conquered an entire continent. He founded one of the first meritocratic governments, established the first form of religious freedom, and re-organized the social landscape. His rule codified the first laws in the region and brought untold riches to his people. This wasn’t an enlightened feudal European or a forward-thinking Western ruler. The founder of this vast empire was born a lowly peasant to a kidnapped woman in a remote encampment in Asia. He was Genghis Khan.

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952: Samurai William by Giles Milton

952.024092: Milton, Giles. Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan. New York: Penguin, 2004. 324 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-200378-7.

If all the books available in my collection for this challenge, I’m heaviest in the 900s. After reading classic fiction for so long for my English degree, I developed a taste for history books. When I compare our day to those of the past, you get an understanding of where we come from from both a sociological and technological standpoint. Today’s history falls squarely in the history sections: 952–History of Japan.

On April 12, 1600, the citizens of the fishing town of Hirado, Japan watched, mouths open, as a strange ship from the East India Company drifted onto their shore. Most of the men were dying from scurvy or dysentery, but one man–William Adams– was strong enough to leave the boat and became the first Englishman to step foot in Japan. Being a stout and resolute ship pilot from England, he began to openly and politely study the Japanese culture and learn how to co-exist with his new surroundings.

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