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

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Algonquin Books, 2005 - Antiques & Collectibles - 316 pages
103 Reviews
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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Review: Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books

User Review  - Bill Sleeman - Goodreads

A very good book about an amazing and heartfelt adventure. Some parts are a tough read if you (like me) do not know Yiddish, German or Hebrew but the spirit of Lansky's project shines through and overcomes the difficult parts. Read full review

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

User Review  - Laurie Dunn-Schmidt - Goodreads

reads like fiction - good fun and good stuff learned Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Out of the Dumpster
3
Bread and Wine
9
Come Back after Yontef
19
4 What Is Mendele Doing in a Fruit Basket on the Floor?
29
On the Road
41
A Ritual of Cultural Transmission
43
Dont You Know That Yiddish Is Dead?
47
A Day in the Life
57
A Ghost in the Attic
150
If Not Higher
159
Hitlers Fault
170
Ganvenen dem GrenetsCrossing the Border
181
Squandered at the Concord
183
Kaddish
194
A Job for the Young
210
The Four Corners of the Earth
219

A Brief History of Yiddish Literature
69
People Are Dying Today Who Never Died Before
79
Pretty Soon Well Have a Whole Forest in Israel and No More Members Here
86
Love and Peace
93
Ostroff Sea Gate
102
The Great Newark Book Heist
118
Him I Dont Talk To
123
Youre a Liar
125
Theyre Tearing Apart the Library
140
Back in the USSR
241
Bringing It All Back Home
259
Der Ojlem RedtThe World Takes Notice
261
A Home of Our Own
277
Immortality
289
The Valise at the Bottom of the Sea
301
Notes
313
Acknowledgments
317
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Aaron Lanksy is the founder and president of the National Yiddish Book Center (www.yiddishbookcenter.org) in Amherst, Massachusetts. The recipient of a MacArthur ďgeniusĒ fellowship, Lansky has helped fuel a renaissance of Jewish literature in this country. He lives with his family in western Massachusetts.

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