Category: Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 350-359: Battle Cry of Deweydom

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 350 Public administration
  • 351 Of central governments
  • 352 Of local governments
  • 353 Of U.S. federal & state governments
  • 354 Of specific central governments
  • 355 Military science
  • 356 Foot forces & warfare
  • 357 Mounted forces & warfare
  • 358 Other specialized forces & services
  • 359 Sea (Naval) forces & warfare

Time to rally ‘round the flag, sound the horns, and charge into the stacks to do battle with the many books in the 350s. As a Yankee-bred Union man, I’m partial to “The Battle Cry of Freedom” but realize my counterparts below the Mason-Dixon line might prefer the equally catchy but mightily more incendiary “Dixie.” (Whichever one you pick, rest assured that people will judge you for it.)

While the Civil War is the prototypical American military story, you’ll have to head to the 900s to get history on that: this section tackles the armed forces themselves in all their diversity (as well as “public administration,” whatever that means). I’m not much of a military buff. I’m probably most familiar with World War II, whether because my familial connection to it through my grandpa or the plethora of popular and academic readings and pop-culture renderings of it. While I can’t say I’m glad that there’s a lot of interest in the armed forces, it’s certainly a huge part of American culture, and human nature for that matter.

The Dew3:

Badass Ultimate Deathmatch: Skull-crushing True Stories of the Most Hardcore Duels, Showdowns, Fistfights, Last Stands, Suicide Charges, and Military Engagements of All Time
By Ben Thompson
Dewey: 355.0092
Random Sentence: “I think we can all see that this is pretty messed up.”

The Troopers: An Informal History of the Plains Cavalry, 1865-1890
By S.E. Whitman
Dewey: 357.10973
Random Sentence: “Nor could the Republicans duck.”

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of A Humanitarian, the Making of A Navy SEAL
By Eric Greitens
Dewey: 359.984
Random Sentence: “It’s death. There is no prize for 2nd place.”

DDC 340-349: Law and Boredom

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 340 Law
  • 341 International law
  • 342 Constitutional & administrative law
  • 343 Military, tax, trade, industrial law
  • 344 Social, labor, welfare, & related law
  • 345 Criminal law
  • 346 Private law
  • 347 Civil procedure & courts
  • 348 Law (Statutes), regulations, cases
  • 349 Law of specific jurisdictions & areas

Favorite courtroom drama? 12 Angry Men, hands down. I’m also a sucker for Aaron Sorkin’s smooth, laser-fast writing in A Few Good Men and the politically hokey yet dramatic flair of Runaway Jury. But we’re talking about real law, aren’t we. In that case, I suppose it’s time for a serious, substantive discussion about 347 Civil Procedure & Courts or 349 Law of Specific Jurisdictions & Areas. Anyone? Bueller? That’s what I thought.

Law (and I’m sure most lawyers would agree, though don’t litigate me on this because I have zero evidence to back it up) is way more boring in real life than in the movies. And what isn’t? I’m much rather watch Tom Cruise cruise his way through witty monologues than listen to civil attorneys drone on about procedure and precedent in cases from before the Civil War. Am I being unfair? Sue me.

(Please don’t sue me.)

The Dew3:

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
By Richard Beeman
Dewey: 342.7302
Random Sentence: “Without naming it, Wilson was calling for the creation of an electoral college.”

Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining: America’s Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out
By Judy Scheindlin
Dewey: 346.7470150269
Random Sentence: “This is not Let’s Make A Deal, and I’m not Marty Hall!”

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court
By Jeffrey Toobin
Dewey: 347.7326
Random Sentence: “He dominated the arguments to an almost embarrassing degree.”

DDC 330-339: Economics? Interesting? WTF

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 330 Economics
  • 331 Labor economics
  • 332 Financial economics
  • 333 Land economics
  • 334 Cooperatives
  • 335 Socialism & related systems
  • 336 Public finance
  • 337 International economics
  • 338 Production
  • 339 Macroeconomics & related topics

Gotta be honest: I was not expecting to find as many interesting books in this section as I did. Like another theoretical principle involving numbers, economics scares me. (I do take great pleasure in the good work of the people at Planet Money, whose mission is to speak plainly about the economy so number-dumb English majors like me can understand what’s going on in the world.) But when I saw what “land economics” meant book-wise (essentially, how to take care of nature) and that “public finance” isn’t quite as mind-numbing as it sounds (yet I’ll still leave it to the financiers—try not to crash the world economy again!), I felt encouraged. There’s plenty to be bored by here, as with most sections, but also more than meets the perusing eye.

The Dew3:

John Muir and the Ice That Started A Fire: How A Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America
By Kim Heacox
Dewey: 333.72
Random Sentence: “His stout muffled body seemed all one skipping muscle.”

A Sand County Almanac: With Other Essays on Conservation From Round River
By Aldo Leopold
Dewey: 333.72
Random Sentence: “There is a peculiar virtue in the music of elusive birds.”

Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures With Coca-Cola
By Mark Thomas
Dewey: 338.766362
Random Sentence: “Are you a porn star?”

DDC 320-329: Beware the festering swamp

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 320 Political science
  • 321 Systems of governments & states
  • 322 Relation of state to organized groups
  • 323 Civil & political rights
  • 324 The political process
  • 325 International migration & colonization
  • 326 Slavery & emancipation
  • 327 International relations
  • 328 The legislative process
  • 329 Not assigned or no longer used

Ah yes, politics: the second of the Banned At Thanksgiving Dinner topics is finally at hand. Personally, I’m fascinated by politics (American specifically). Notice I didn’t say I love them: as a history nut I enjoy viewing current events in historical context, and also enjoy dissecting the various political narratives that come out of them, but horse-race politics disgust me. I’m a moderate through and through, leaning left on some issues and right on others, but I’m a radical in my view that cable news is generally a vapid abomination of journalism and that politics in the U.S. is a festering swamp of ego and soul-crushing skullduggery.

All that to say that I took extra care in this section to avoid those shoddy polemics by pundits, hucksters, and otherwise annoying public figures who for some cosmically sad reason make a lot of money saying stupid and/or wrong things on TV. There are so many of those books! But there are just as many interesting, well-written ones about a variety of political issues that you ought to check out.

The Dew3:

The Black Panthers Speak
Dewey: 322.42
Random Sentence: “Whose benefit are they concerned with, Huey P. Newton’s or black lawyers?”

Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America A Democracy
By Bruce Watson
Dewey: 323.1196
Random Sentence: “Beer cans flew, and a SNCC car’s tires were slashed.”

Will the Gentleman Yield: The Congressional Record Humor Book
Dewey: 328.7300207
Random Sentence: “I await with eager anticipation my trophy.”

DDC 310-319: “Sports statistics… interesting subject. Homework, Tannen?”

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 310 General statistics
  • 311 No longer used—formerly Theory and methods
  • 312 No longer used—formerly Population
  • 313 No longer used—formerly Special topics
  • 314 General statistics Of Europe
  • 315 General statistics Of Asia
  • 316 General statistics Of Africa
  • 317 General statistics Of North America
  • 318 General statistics Of South America
  • 319 General statistics Of other parts of the world

Man… some slim pickin’s here. Besides the series of World Almanacs that go a few years back, literally the only other books my library has are the two other ones featured below. (Not even the Grays Sports Almanac? C’mon library!) On the one hand, this reveals the woeful lack of interest in statistics, which are fundamental tools for understanding our world. On the other hand, statistics are super boring (if you aren’t a Nate Silver acolyte at least), so I’m hardly weeping here.

Does anyone else’s library have a paucity of statistical representation in the stacks? And does anyone care? I’m not trying to be flippant here; public libraries have a obligation to the reading habits and desires of their local citizenry and not necessarily to a completist’s quest for ALL THE INFORMATION. So if that means, skimping on the stats, then so be it. More room for cooler stuff like history and… really anything that isn’t statistics.

The Dew3:

The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2014
By Sarah Janssen
Dewey: 310
Random Sentence: “Illinois electricity use/cost: 770 kWh, $90.80.“

America’s Ranking Among Nations: A Global Perspective of the United States in Graphic Detail
By Michael Dulberger
Dewey: 317.3
Random Sentence: “In 2011, India had 12 times the population density (persons per square mile) as the United States.”

The Unofficial U.S. Census: Things the Official U.S. Census Doesn’t Tell You About America
By Les Krantz
Dewey: 317.3
Random Sentence: “But in the end, even Stephen Hawking says time travel is probably not going to happen.”

DDC 300-309: Welcome to the Human Jungle

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
  • 301 Sociology & anthropology
  • 302 Social interaction
  • 303 Social processes
  • 304 Factors affecting social behavior
  • 305 Social groups
  • 306 Culture & institutions
  • 307 Communities
  • 308 No longer used—formerly Polygraphy
  • 309 No longer used—formerly History of sociology

Welcome to the 300s! Officially designated for the social sciences, I’m calling it the Human Jungle because it gets into the thick of stuff about people and cultures. I don’t know about yours, but in my library this section went on for sooooo long. Understandably so, since the subjects are so big and broadly defined, with new research and ideas coming out of them all the time. But I was pleased to see just how diverse the books were as I walked down the aisles.

Though I had very little academic experience in sociology (English and history all the way, y’all), I’m fascinated by how people influence culture and vice versa. Though much of what we know about that becomes outdated as time goes by and new information surfaces, I like to see the variety of books in the 300s as documentation of the evolution of humans’ understanding of humanity. Such a thing has been and always will be incomplete, but that won’t be for lack of trying.

The Dew3:

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy
By Emily Bazelon
Dewey: 302.34
Random Sentence: “I don’t know what else I can do to protect my son.”

Race Matters
By Cornel West
Dewey: 305.800973
Random Sentence: “Black anti-Semitism and Jewish antiblack racism are real, and both are as profoundly American as cherry pie.”

American Nerd: The Story of My People
By Benjamin Nugent
Dewey: 305.9085
Random Sentence: “The newt impulse exists among sci-fi fans, but in a much subtler way.”

DDC 290-299: Like the ending of LOST

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 290 Other & comparative religions
  • 291 Comparative religion
  • 292 Classical (Greek & Roman) religion
  • 293 Germanic religion
  • 294 Religions of Indian origin
  • 295 Zoroastrianism (Mazdaism, Parseeism)
  • 296 Judaism
  • 297 Islam, Bábism & Bahá’í Faith
  • 298 No longer used—formerly Mormonism
  • 299 Other religions

As acknowledged back in DDC 220-229, the 200s have been overwhelmingly biased toward Christianity. But don’t fear, every other religious person reading this: your time has come! The Lords of Dewey have deigned the 290s the “Oh Crap We Forgot All The Other Religions” section. Hence Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and every other possible religious -ism bunched together in the caboose for a SparkNotes tour through ancient and modern religion and spirituality. Certainly not adequate space for the plethora of writing out there, but it’s the best Dewey is willing to do at this point.

Time for an #OccupyDewey campaign? Only the people can decide. Meanwhile, we’ve concluded what has to be the most contentious section in all of Dewey. (What’s that? The 320s are Political Science?)

The Dew3:

Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness and the Man Who Found Them All
By Perry Garfinkel
Dewey: 294.3
Random Sentence: “Like any tourist, I was eager to visit what has been dubbed the Disneyland of Buddhist monasteries.”

Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life
By John Tarrant
Dewey: 294.34432
Random Sentence: “Why can’t clear-eyed Bodhisattvas sever the red thread?”

Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari’a Law From the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World
By Sadakat Kadri
Dewey: 297
Random Sentence: “Shafi’i’s vision, as amplified by later generations of students, was destined to prevail.”

DDC 280-289: The denomination is in the details

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 280 Christian denominations & sects
  • 281 Early church & Eastern churches
  • 282 Roman Catholic Church
  • 283 Anglican churches
  • 284 Protestants of Continental origin
  • 285 Presbyterian, Reformed, Congregational
  • 286 Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Adventist
  • 287 Methodist & related churches
  • 288 No longer used—formerly Unitarian
  • 289 Other denominations & sects

Outside of being Protestant, I don’t have a specific denominational background. In spite (or because?) of that, I find other denominations, sects, and congregational interpretations fascinating. As a non-participant in the holy wars between Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterian, and of course Catholics, I watch with equal parts confusion and admiration for the dedication each section holds for their specific ways. Though all housed under the “Christian” umbrella, their adherents have found many ways to diverge from each other since the very beginning of the faith. (Only those in the culture can appreciate/disdain the irony of “no longer used” being paired with Unitarianism.) Despite the division, there is much to be gained historically, sociologically, and theologically from reading about how each of these parts interact with each other and with the whole of the faith.

Or, if you’re sick of Christianity, you can just wait for the 290s.

The Dew3:

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint
By Nadia Bolz-Weber
Dewey: 284.135
Random Sentence: “I’m not certain of the exact origins of the idea, but I’m guessing it was a biopic about Jim Morrison.”

Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom for A Better Life Today
By Philip Gulley
Dewey: 289.6
Random Sentence: “We spend much time yoked to the very devices we hoped would liberate us.”

Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish
By Tom Shachtman
Dewey: 289.73
Random Sentence: “She counters with an additional demand for fenders on the wheels.”

DDC 270-279: Persecution junction

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 270 Christian church history
  • 271 Religious orders in church history
  • 272 Persecutions in church history
  • 273 Heresies in church history
  • 274 Christian church in Europe
  • 275 Christian church in Asia
  • 276 Christian church in Africa
  • 277 Christian church in North America
  • 278 Christian church in South America
  • 279 Christian church in other areas

As with any honest historical assessment, this section’s books take on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Christianity’s past. 272 Persecutions could fill up an entire library. But many forget that though the Catholic Church has been responsible for some pretty heinous persecution over the years, the Christian church in general were also persecuted themselves for a long time. And even though Western Christianity (and religion in general) is fairly protected from persecution, there are places in the Middle East and Asia where being a Christian can get you killed. That’s what makes books like The Irresistible Revolution (see below)—which call for radical, countercultural living—get real real fast. In whatever time or place, people who really take their faith to heart will face the consequences of it, good and bad. And that makes one hell of a story.

The Dew3:

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as An Ordinary Radical
By Shane Claiborne
Dewey: 277.3
Random Sentence: “I’m not sure the Christian Gospel always draws a crowd.”

The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns
By Elizabeth Kuhns
Dewey: 271.9
Random Sentence: “Walking was to be accomplished in a calm, demure manner–hurrying was discouraged.”

The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God
By Jonathan Kirsch
Dewey: 272.2
Random Sentence: “The old authoritarian impulse was still fully alive.”

DDC 260-269: Fred Phelps would hate this

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 260 Christian social theology
  • 261 Social theology
  • 262 Ecclesiology
  • 263 Times, places of religious observance
  • 264 Public worship
  • 265 Sacraments, other rites & acts
  • 266 Missions
  • 267 Associations for religious work
  • 268 Religious education
  • 269 Spiritual renewal

Is Christianity cool? Starting with this section through the next few, a lot of the books would give you some proof in the affirmative and in the negative. Obvious examples include the first book featured below, which explicitly asks that question, but also the books that don’t overtly make a claim yet by merely existing make a case.

Sadly, much of what people see on cable news is the worst of so-called Christian social theology, propagated for clicks and viewers but not based in the day-to-day reality of living out the biggest religion on earth. If you love history or tradition, there is a lot of interesting stuff to explore in Christianity’s past that conveniently also has 0% to do with Westboro Baptist.

The Dew3:

Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide
By Brett McCracken
Dewey: 261.1
Random Sentence: “For some pastors, this means they include references to Paris Hilton and The Hills in their sermons.”

On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century
By Jorge Bergoglio
Dewey: 261.83
Random Sentence: “Christianity condemns both Communism and wild capitalism with the same vigor.”

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity
By Keri Wyatt Kent
Dewey: 263.2
Random Sentence: “In play, we shed the shackles of schedule, efficiency, even purpose.”