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Outwitting History The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books

Lansky, Aaron

1,258 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1565125134 / ISBN 13: 9781565125131
Published by Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, 2005
Used Soft cover
From BISON BOOKS - ABAC/ILAB (Winnipeg, MB, Canada)

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pp. xii, 316. 8vo. Light general shelfwear; vey good. Reader's Guide Included. Bookseller Inventory # 019050

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Outwitting History The Amazing Adventures of...

Publisher: Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Paperback

About this title

Synopsis:

“Incredible . . . Inspiring . . . Important.” —Library Journal, starred review “A marvelous yarn, loaded with near-calamitous adventures and characters as memorable as Singer creations.” —The New York Post “What began as a quixotic journey was also a picaresque romp, a detective story, a profound history lesson, and a poignant evocation of a bygone world.” —The Boston Globe “Every now and again a book with near-universal appeal comes along: Outwitting History is just such a book.” —The Sunday Oregonian As a twenty-three-year-old graduate student, Aaron Lansky set out to save the world’s abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Today, more than a 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. A Library Journal Best Book A Massachusetts Book Award Winner in Nonfiction An ALA Notable Book

Book Description:

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.

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