Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 990s

998: At the Ends of the Earth by Kieran Mulvaney


998: Mulvaney, Kieran. At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2001. 245 pp. ISBN 1-55963-908-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 990: History of the Pacific Ocean and other parts of the world
  • 998: History of Arctic islands and Antarctica

The bulk of history is told through the lens of important events. The narrative of that history focuses on the decisions and people that lead to those events. But what happens afterward? While modern historiography looks at the effects of the historical events on people after any given event, not much attention is spared when people aren’t affected. Kieran Mulvaney’s At the Ends of the Earth takes a different approach to history. His focus is on the effect of man’s presence on the geography, climate, and landscape of the polar regions. Both Arctic Ocean and Antarctica have been changed by the presence of human explorers and researchers and Mulvaney details the history and extent of that change.

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997: The Falklands War 1982 by Duncan Anderson


997.11024: Anderson, Duncan. The Falklands War 1982. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2002. 92 pp. ISBN 1-84176-422-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 990: History of the Pacific Ocean Island, other parts of the world, and extraterrestrial worlds
  • 997: History of Atlantic Ocean islands
  • 997.1: Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and Bouvet Island
  • 997.11: Falkland Islands
  • 997.1102: British period, 1832 to present
  • 997.11024: Falkland Islands War, 1982

In the spring of 1982, Argentine military leaders decided to invade the South Georgia and Falkland Islands, which had been under British control for 150 years, and reclaim their former territory. Not wishing to seem too hesitant, British Prime Minister Thatcher immediately sent a retaliatory naval and ground force to re-occupy the Falklands. After 74 days of fighting, the British emerged victorious and British troops held a celebratory march through London for the first time since the Second World War. Duncan Anderson’s The Falklands War 1982 is a whirlwind tour through the background, battles, and history of the quick entanglement.

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996: The Bounty by Caroline Alexander


996.18: Alexander, Caroline. The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty. New York: Penguin, 2004. 410 pp. ISBN 0-14-200469-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 990: History of other areas
  • 996: History of Polynesia and other Pacific Ocean Islands
  • 996.1: Southwest central Pacific, and isolated islands of southeast Pacific
  • 996.18: Isolated islands of the southeast Pacific Ocean

In December of 1787, the HMS Bounty, under the leadership of commanding lieutenant William Bligh, set out for the island of Tahiti to obtain breadfruit plants to grow in the West Indies. It was a routine trade mission. But Bligh’s return trip to England was far from routine. On the morning of April 28, 1789, ship’s mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Bligh and took the ship. Bligh and 14 crewmen were placed on a small 23-foot launch and sent to go back home while the mutineers steered towards Tahiti. Without charts or a chronometer, Bligh still made it over 4,000 miles to Australian shores and eventually got home. The story of the infamous mutiny and aftermath are the subject for Caroline Alexander’s The Bounty, a complex and nuanced tale of leadership, loyalty, and love.

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999: Other Worlds by Michael Lemonick

999: Lemonick, Michael D. Other Worlds: The Search for Life in the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. 255 pp. ISBN 0-684-83294-1.

At the very, very, very end of the Dewey Decimal Classification, you will find 999. The 900s are history and geography, and the 990s include history of other parts of the world. Normally, this would mean history of Australia and tiny island nations, but the last section—section 999—is reserved for the history of extraterrestrial worlds.

The only problem with writing about the history of extraterrestrial worlds is we have neither met any organism from another planet nor received any transmission from another planetary system. So, Michael Lemonick’s Other Worlds focuses on how Earth’s inhabitants are trying to find planets outside the Solar System.

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