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Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million… (2004)

de Aaron Lansky

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8583718,957 (4.35)128
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.… (mais)
  1. 104
    Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages de Mark Abley (lorax)
    lorax: There are two obvious ways to go from "Outwitting History"; the other recommendations cover a specific interest in Yiddish. For a general interest in linguistic preservation and revival, "Spoken Here" is a fascinating read, including a chapter on Yiddish.
  2. 10
    The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance de Anders Rydell (sneuper)
    sneuper: Both books are about an effort of rescuing books from the hands of Nazi’s who want to destroy the heritage of the Jewish people.
  3. 10
    The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts de Joshua Hammer (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: 'the same story, 'cept suburban Long Island isn't as "sporty" as Mali...
  4. 00
    Songs for the Butcher's Daughter de Peter Manseau (SqueakyChu)
  5. 00
    Essential Yiddish books : 1000 great works from the collection of the National Yiddish Book Center de Zachary M. Baker (gangleri)
  6. 01
    The Joys of Yiddish de Leo Rosten (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: After learning about the slow disappearance of Yiddish, grab hold of this book and learn a some Yiddish words and their meanings. All is explained with grace and humor.
  7. 01
    History of the Yiddish Language: Volumes 1 and 2 (Yale Language) (v. 1 and v. 2) de Max Weinreich (bertilak)
  8. 01
    A Treasury of Yiddish Stories de Irving Howe (bertilak)
  9. 01
    Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods de Michael Wex (aces)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Memoir, Jewish History, books ( )
  Rosareads | May 31, 2021 |
Gripping account of how one man's intellectual curiosity leads him, without obvious expectations of what he was getting into, to undertake a life's quest to preserve the Yiddish literature. He interrupted his schooling in Yiddish literature to take a year's leave to collect books because they were all but impossible to find, and never returned. It's true, I suppose, that life is what happens when we're making other plans, and that the biggest regrets of our lives will be not taking advantage of the opportunities that appear to do not only great things, but things we love with all our being.

The timeline in the book is a bit bumpy, but the major point is less to give a history than to evoke a sense of why the project was important, and worth the doing. On that level, the book succeeds brilliantly. ( )
  dono421846 | Feb 5, 2021 |
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. Once I picked it up, I had go on until I was finished. This is the story of Aaron Lansky and his quest to save Yiddish books. At a time when even most Jews had given Yiddish up as dead, Lansky had the vision to rescue the lost books of Yiddish and then place them in the hands of people who needed them. So, pulling up his bootstraps, with help from various people, and a lot of guts, he went around collecting books, leading to the eventual foundation of the National Yiddish Book Center.

The stories in the book vary from very moving to humorous. From digging books out of dumpsters to meeting with elderly Jews who passed their collections to him one book at a time, Lansky's adventures take him around the world. And all this before the Internet was around. We take for granted that you can digitize books now (and they do digitize books now), but back in the early 90s, the technology to do so was brand new, untried. We also get to see him travel from Africa to Europe and even Latin America and the Soviet Union. And yet, for all the books he saves, there are so many lost. And indeed, Yiddish still is a relatively small language, so to speak, and one that is endangered. But it is also a language of history, of culture, of memory, and one that a new generation now wishes to discover, or rediscover, as a way to get to know its heritage. So there is some hope. ]

In the process of reading the book, you also get some lessons in the history of Yiddish and a little lesson in world history as well. So it makes for a very good book to read. If you are a reader who likes to read about books, who likes a good tale, and a little history, then this is definitely a book for you. It may, as it did for me, make you wish you could go out and read some of the many works and authors that Lansky mentions in the book. Sadly, I can't read Yiddish, but I can hope maybe to get a hold of one of the new translations of Yiddish works the NYBC is putting out (it would be nicer if one day I could learn to actually read the language). In the meantime, get a hold of this book.

( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
7 stars: Good

From the back cover: As a 23 year old graduate student, Aaron Lansky set out to save the world's abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Today, 25 years and 1 1/2 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.

---------------

I don't have a whole lot to add to the above. This book was different than I expected-- though I'm not certain why, as it does follow what is described above. I found I learned a fair amount about Yiddish and some details of Jewish cultural history I was not aware of. I am glad I read this, but ultimately didn't find anything stand out for a reread. ( )
  PokPok | May 12, 2019 |
In the late 1970s, Lansky began taking college Yiddish classes and soon found that it was quite difficult to find books in Yiddish, so he began taking them in. As word got out that he was accepting them, more and more people started calling with books for him to take. In the process, he learned a whole lot about Jewish culture, particularly in the aftermath of WWII, and of the often conflicting views of Yiddish as both language and social construct. I am not Jewish and the only Yiddish I know are the few words that have trickled into American English (kibbitz, tchotchke, etc.), so this book took me into quite unfamiliar territory. Which is really the best part about books. ( )
  melydia | Jun 17, 2018 |
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Aaron Lanskyautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Guidall, GeorgeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The phone rang at midnight. That wasn't unusual. Older Jews often waited until the rates went down before phoning me about their Yiddish books.
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Sometimes it seemed that Yiddish was a Rorschach test: Young people, especially, saw in it what they wanted to see. For atheists it was Jewishness without religion; for feminists, Judaism free from patriarchy; for those uncomfortable with Israeli politics, nationalism without Zionism; for socialists, the voice of proletarian struggle; for more contemporary radicals, a shtokh to the establishment.
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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.

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