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This title in other editions

Outwitting History

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Outwitting History Cover

ISBN13: 9781565125131
ISBN10: 1565125134
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As a twenty-three-year-old graduate student, Aaron Lanskey set out to save the world's abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Today, twenty-five years and one and a half million books later, he has accomplished what has been called "the greatest cultural rescue effort in Jewish history." In Outwitting History, Lansky shares his adventures as well as the poignant and often laugh-out-loud stories he heard as he traveled the country collecting books. Introducing us to a dazzling array of writers, he shows us how an almost-lost culture is the bridge between the old world and the future—and how the written word can unite everyone who believes in the power of great literature.

Synopsis:

In 1980 an entire body of Jewish literature--the physical remnant of Yiddish culture--was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of Jewish immigrants to their non-Yiddish-speaking children only to be discarded or destroyed. So Aaron Lansky, just twenty-three, issued a worldwide appeal for unwanted Yiddish works.

Lansky's passion led him to travel from house to house collecting the books--and the stories of these Jewish refugees and the vibrant intellectual world they inhabited. He and a team of volunteers salvaged books from dusty attics, crumbling basements, demolition sites, and dumpsters. When they began, scholars thought that fewer than seventy thousand Yiddish books existed. So far 1.5 million volumes have been saved!

Filled with tender and sometimes hilarious stories, this is an inspirational account of a man who had a vision and made a difference. It is a collective love song to the brilliant Yiddish writers--from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to I. B. Singer--whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.

Synopsis:

The man who spearheaded what has been called "the greatest cultural rescue effort in Jewish history" recounts his poignant, intrepid, and often riotous quest to safeguard a vanishing civilization.

Synopsis:

In 1980, a twenty-three-year-old student named Aaron Lansky set out to rescue the world’s abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Twenty-five years and one and a half million books later, he’s still in the midst of a great adventure. Filled with poignant and often laugh-out-loud tales from Lansky’s travels across the country as he collected books from older Jewish immigrants—books their own children had no use for—Outwitting History also explores brilliant Yiddish writers and enables us to see how an almost-lost culture is the bridge between the Old World and the future.

About the Author

“genius” fellowship, Lansky has helped fuel a renaissance of Jewish literature in this country. He lives with his family in western Massachusetts.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

KIER8, November 17, 2008 (view all comments by KIER8)
To me, "Outwitting History" is an entertaining, inspiring, and incredible tale. The author, Aaron Lansky, is the dynamic founder and president of the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. By dint of his strong determination and sweat, Lansky rescued over a million Yiddish books from destruction. These efforts led to a McArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship. It is not everyday that you can read, learn from, and enjoy the memoir of a genius. Do not let the opportunity escape.
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Jennifer Short, December 4, 2007 (view all comments by Jennifer Short)
As someone who once rescued a pile of books in a language I don't speak, I had nothing but admiration for Aaron Lansky in his quest to rescue Yiddish literature. The fact I don't read Yiddish didn't dampen my enthusiasm for this book. I often would read passages to others from this as I was so awed by his enormous undertaking of collecting books which eventually became the National Yiddish Book Center. His stories of the people who entrusted their tomes to him made me feel as if I was sitting with him listening to the stories told by the elderly. I got chills when he discovered a book that, when researched, it was said "No copies exist". In fact, I read this passage over the phone to a friend of mine who lives in Russia. I can't recommend this book enough. If you enjoy books, you'll love "Outwitting History".
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781565125131
Subtitle:
The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books
Author:
Lansky, Aaron
Publisher:
Algonquin Books
Subject:
History
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Jewish
Subject:
Yiddish language
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
Book collecting
Subject:
Language revival
Subject:
Religion Western-Jewish History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20050902
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
328
Dimensions:
8.40x5.54x.96 in. 1.01 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Antiques » Books
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Religion » Judaism » General
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History
Religion » Judaism » Thought and Culture

Outwitting History Used Trade Paper
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Product details 328 pages Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - English 9781565125131 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In 1980 an entire body of Jewish literature--the physical remnant of Yiddish culture--was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of Jewish immigrants to their non-Yiddish-speaking children only to be discarded or destroyed. So Aaron Lansky, just twenty-three, issued a worldwide appeal for unwanted Yiddish works.

Lansky's passion led him to travel from house to house collecting the books--and the stories of these Jewish refugees and the vibrant intellectual world they inhabited. He and a team of volunteers salvaged books from dusty attics, crumbling basements, demolition sites, and dumpsters. When they began, scholars thought that fewer than seventy thousand Yiddish books existed. So far 1.5 million volumes have been saved!

Filled with tender and sometimes hilarious stories, this is an inspirational account of a man who had a vision and made a difference. It is a collective love song to the brilliant Yiddish writers--from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to I. B. Singer--whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.

"Synopsis" by , The man who spearheaded what has been called "the greatest cultural rescue effort in Jewish history" recounts his poignant, intrepid, and often riotous quest to safeguard a vanishing civilization.
"Synopsis" by , In 1980, a twenty-three-year-old student named Aaron Lansky set out to rescue the world’s abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Twenty-five years and one and a half million books later, he’s still in the midst of a great adventure. Filled with poignant and often laugh-out-loud tales from Lansky’s travels across the country as he collected books from older Jewish immigrants—books their own children had no use for—Outwitting History also explores brilliant Yiddish writers and enables us to see how an almost-lost culture is the bridge between the Old World and the future.
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