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Outwitting History: How a Young Man Rescued a Million Books and Saved a Vanishing Civilisation Hardcover – 3 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd (3 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 028563724X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285637245
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,091,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Outwitting History is the charming and compelling epic about how Lansky and a few volunteers saved Yiddish books from extinction." -- 'The Times'

There’s just one word to describe ...Aaron Lansky’s enchanting book Outwitting History… chutzpah… an adventure story to delight bibliophiles. -- 'Daily Mail'

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P.A, Morbid on 19 Sep 2008
Format: Hardcover
This, like `Wicked', is a book I've read three times from beginning to end, and dipped into more than that. It's also a book I cannot recommend highly enough! It's a true story that reads like a novel at times, so packed is it with twists and turns, ups and downs. It's the story of how Aaron & chums set about rescuing all the Yiddish books in America sometime in the early 80's when most of the Yiddish speaking settlers had settled and produced children and those children had produced children who, while adhering to the religion of the grandparents grew up speaking English. A lot of the original Yiddish speakers in America had fled from Europe in the wake of Hitler and his cronies and Yiddish for them wasn't just a language it was the last link to a way of life that had perished in the death camps. They put the word out that they're collecting Yiddish books, despite being constantly told by modern American Jews that Yiddish is dead, that it belongs to the past, and they have a list of places to go and collect and it's on this first day that he realises it's not going to be as simple as packing boxes into the back of a truck because the old people he visits first fuss over and feed him - forcing cup after cup of tea down his throat too - and then, when he is fit to bursting - and only then - will they begin passing him the books. But that's not the end of it, no. Just the beginning in fact. Because with each book comes a story. A story of where and when the book was bought and sometimes how they went without food to buy the books. They were handing over much more than books, they were handing over the stories of their lives...I've cried so many times reading this book, but not with despair.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Fiona Allen on 19 May 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Part history, part social history, part travelogue, this is such a fascinating book that the minute I read the last sentence I immediiately turned to the front page and started again. Aaron Lansky got a Macarthur "Genius grant"; in a better world he would also have been awarded a Nobel Prize for rescuing a whole corpus of literature. The story of the dictionary of politics which escaped the attentions of the secret police is as thrilling as any Tom Clancy - and better written. Anyone who loves reading should read this book - it is completely absorbing.
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By Bertie on 15 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating and well written account of a remarkable mission to save Yiddish books. I enjoyed it immensely and will certainly be re-reading it in due course.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once you open this book, you will not be able to put it down till you have finished reading. A story with everything, drama, suspense, tradegy, full of surprises, humour and laughs. A group of enthusiastic, energetic but penniless students set out to save a treasury of abandonded and unwanted Yiddish books - and they do. Written with verve, humour, sympathy the story carries you along like a tide to its optimistic and satisfying ending.
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By Jonny Monny on 10 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A marvellous story of an idea which turned into an obsession. By collecting so many Yiddish books, the author gives us an insight into a vanished world.
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