Recipient of the MacArthur “genius” fellowship and founder of the National Yiddish Book Center, Lansky recounts his efforts to rescue the world’s abandoned Yiddish-language books before they pass out of existence. Outwitting History follows Lansky’s far-flung travels and features the engaging men and women he meets along the way.
©2004 Aaron Lansky (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
“Lansky’s account of salvaging books is both hilarious and moving, filled with Jewish humor... and touching accounts of what were once thriving Jewish communities in Europe.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
I saw Aaron Lansky interviewed in the Sholem Aleichem documentary recently, and I thought that he was articulate and entertaining. I'm SO glad I listened to this book rather than just read it. Although I know some Yiddish, it was so lovely to hear the book read by the narrator----whose Yiddish seemed native. The book itself is so much more than the story of Lansky's book center. It includes wonderful portraits of the people who owned the books, touching stories about Lansky's travels, from a tiny community in Cuba to the bombed-out synagogue in Argentina to the towns in Latvia, Estonia, and Belorus, where Jews had no Yiddish books and yearned for them. Loved the story about Arlo Guthrie and his mom, about the woman in England who had no idea of her Polish husband's political tracts, of the fight to save the Newark library's collections, and many many more. Loved the jokes, menus, poetry, even tales of romance: all of the touching stories about a language and a people who have suffered so greatly and whose culture and language was almost decimated......but, with people like Lansky and his friends, live on. I listened to this book during long commutes....sometimes I had trouble seeing the road because of the tears in my eyes.
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