Filed under dewey decimal project

Dewey Decimal Project: 355.0213 JOH The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic

This was NewImagea fair amount of familiar rhetoric, and largely things that I agree with (although I’m more positive on trade than Johnson, or many on the far left, for that matter). Overall, though, perhaps because it was so familiar, I found it a bit wearisome of a read, not unlike listening to Pacifica Radio, which should be a fit for me and yet is not.


Dewey Decimal Project: 341.69 LIC The Nazis Next Door

As I dug through the NewImage 40s at the library, I found a surprising number of books dedicated to the O. J. Simpson trial. And while I’ve heard good things about the recent documentary and miniseries about the trial, I also remember the whole circus surrounding it when it happened and I’m willing to take a pass on those But seeing a book with the title, The Nazis Next Door, caught my attention. This sounded like it could be interesting. And it was, although it was frustrating to see how willing the American government was to look the other way when fascism was involved because of their deep-seated fear of communism. So many evils of the second half of the twentieth century in the US can be laid at the feet of that pathological fear.

But what caught my attention even more was a passing mention in the introduction about Jews rescued from concentration camps living in a sort of limbo in European DP camps while some of the Nazis that persecuted them were welcomed into the countries where the Jewish DPs had hoped to emigrate. This passing notion has led to my work on my current novel (and a ridiculous amount of research on topics relating to DP camps, concentration camps and the end of World War II and has left me with frequent concentration camp dreams (alas, dreams to abstract to be useful fodder for the novel).


Dewey Decimal Project: 331.886 STO Red Chicago

I have a greatNewImage affinity for Marxist communism, and it hasn’t lost its strength despite the fall of the Russian-led communist countries. And while I had a small amount of sympathy for the Soviet-style communists, I could see that even taking into account Western propagandizing (and yes, there was a fair amount of this happening), the Soviet system was far from successful. Reading this book, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated by the fact that the American communist party let itself be set in lockstep with the Soviet leadership to the point of absurdity. Intellectuals were suppressed as being insufficiently proletarian and in service to pro-Soviet loyalty, the party took a number of absurd positions, the worst of which was the support of the Stalin-Hitler non-aggression pact (not to mention the willingness to turn a blind eye to Stalin’s atrocities). It seems clear to me that if communism is to have a future, it cannot be the top-down style of communism that was the end-result of Stalin’s victory over Trotsky (and is still the style of the current incarnation of the American Communist Party), but must be more bottom-up in its organization—more Catholic Worker than Daily Worker, so to speak.

This book does give a reasonably good account of the history and sociology surrounding the Communist Party in Chicago, although I was disappointed in the rather short shrift given to the various ethnic branches of the party which were in many ways the lifeblood of the party in the 1920s. My father has a picture of his mother as a member of the Karl Marx Singing Society, and this sort of thing is almost completely ignored leaving me to wonder what other interesting aspects of Chicago Communism were also left out of the book.


Dewey Decimal Project: 320.509 ARE Hannah Arendt

Looking overNewImage the shelves gave me ajada with all the conservative nonsense books. Seeing the combination of Hannah Arendt and Julia Kristeva on the spine of this book left me feeling that there might be some hope after all for the 300s.

This is a biography of sorts, but one really focusing more on Arendt’s life of the mind than anything else. I knew only a little about Arendt before reading this book and seeing her placed in the context of philosophy and twentieth-century history. Learning her connection with Heidegger and her German origins was illuminating. Kristeva managed to be just the right author to write this book.

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Dewey Decimal Project: 317.3 PET Unlocking the Census with GIS

Sometimes in thScreen Shot 2017 02 04 at 19 55 10e Dewey Decimal project I end up with bad choices. In this instance, the 310s are statistics. There were a couple of almanacs and this book. Then, for added bonus, I lost the book while I was reading it. I ended up buying a used copy in excellent condition to finish reading it. The library still charged me for the lost book with the return of the replacement copy, but they were kind enough to not charge me the restocking fee.

The book itself is interesting, but has the flaw that it was geared around 2000 census data and the technology available at the time. 

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Dewey Decimal Project: 306.235 FLA Girl Land

As the father of a young daughter aNewImagend a member of a family which went 59 years without a female birth before my daughter’s birth, girls are a bit of a mystery to me. No sisters, no nieces, and only a single female cousin who was over a decade older than me so I knew her more as an adult than as a girl.

Reading this book was a bit of an eye-opener for me. The central thesis was one that should have been obvious for me: The development of sexual maturity in a girl as she becomes a woman marks a social and physical threat to the girls, particularly from men. 


Dewey Decimal Project 291.9 ZEI Cults

ThereNewImage are a few places where the Dewey Decimal System betrays its Victorian origins. The 200s are one of these. 220–289 are dedicated to Christianity and the Bible. All other religions are given 290–299. So faced with the full panoply of world religions outside of Christianity, I ended up choosing this slender book on cults aimed at teenagers with short attention spans.

The treatment is a bit cursory and it’s been a while since I read it so I don’t remember the details very well, but I think that the book failed to really define quite what a cult was and included in its ranks of cults some groups that are arguably not cults at all.


Dewey Decimal Project: 282.092 MAN Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and their Son

NewImageAll it really took to hook me on the book was the title. A priest and a nun get married and have kids? Right up my alley.

Where the big surprise came in (and perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise), was the fact that the Boston priest sexual abuse scandal came into play in the story as well. Overall, this is a brilliant and wonderfully detailed account of Catholicism in America in the 1950s through 1970s. The whole of the story, with Manseau’s father’s quixotic effort to have both his priesthood and his marriage recognized by the Church makes for a fascinating read.


Dewey Decimal Project: 270.1 DAM When the Church Was Young

NewImage.pngAfter reading, The Gospel of the Lord, I was really curious to read more of the church fathers and eagerly awaited my arrival at this part of the Dewey Decimal system. Of course, dealing with the vagaries of selecting books from the local public library, my choices aren’t always as broad as I would like, so rather than having the option of primary sources to read—aside from St Augustine, with whom I already have at least a passing familiarity, I instead got this book which is mostly summary and occasional quotation.

D’Ambrosio is writing from the perspective of someone deeply imbued with the spirit of a Catholic apologist. With each Catholic father who’s included in here, some aspect of contemporary Catholic doctrine is justified as originating from the earliest days of the Church. While as a Catholic, I’m inclined to agree, the manner in which D’Ambrosio approaches his task felt rather offputting.

 Even so, within the limits of what it was, I found this an enjoyable read and saw it also potentially a good source for figuring uot which of the fathers would be of interest to start with,


Dewey Decimal Project: 262.13 PHA Heirs of the Fisherman

I NewImage expected something a bit different than this. There’s an awful lot of cut-and-paste to fill out the pages of the book with the full texts of the last few popes’ wills and while the accounts of the behind-the-scenes of the elections were intriguing, they ultimately were a bit disappointing. 

When I was doing a bit of research on Pham, I found that he’s apparently a bit of a controversial figure. The author photo on the book jacket shows him in clericals, but he has apparently left the priesthood and has a tendency to offer up inflated credentials to support his expertise as a commentator on a number of subjects.

If I remember the book correctly, there’s some historical/biographical information on a number of popes in this book as well which managed to make an interesting subject rather dry and dull.