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Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey

Wiegand, Wayne A.

American Library Association
Published:June 1, 1996

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Description: From Library Journal
Finally, Melvil Dewey fully revealed, in entertaining prose, built on rigorous and deep historical scholarship. This is the definitive biography we've missed for so long. It tells the story of an American archetype?a man imbued with the inventive curiosity, sexism, anti-Semitism, racism, type-A control-freakishness, and reform zeal so characteristic of the power brokers of his time and his nation. The result is a masterpiece of history. It appropriately bears the imprint of the library association he founded and nurtured and which was enlisted for years to coconspire to cover up the darker side of the old boy. Wiegand's (a Dewey historian) penetrating, provocative interpretations add to the readability and pleasure of this fine biography, even his highly arguable view that the persistence of Dewey's design for librarianship means it "will likely remain a marginal profession." To this member of the small club of holders of jobs Dewey once held, it is obvious that Wiegand's work can be used to make the opposite case as well: that it was Dewey who gave librarianship any hope at all of becoming central to modern American society. Either way, you should own and read this brilliant, comprehensive study of the biased crackpot genius to whom we librarians owe so much.?John Berry, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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