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Outwitting History: How a Young Man Rescued a Million Books and Saved a Vanishing Civilisation

by Aaron Lansky - £12.99  Souvenir Press (2005)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780285637528 | ISBN 10: 0285637525

In 1980, an entire body of Jewish literature - the physical remnant of Yiddish culture - was on the verge of extinction. Previous 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. A twenty-three-year-old student named Aaron Lansky set out to rescue the world's abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late.
 
When Lansky started out, experts belived that fewer than 70,000 Yiddish-language books still existed - he has now saved over 1.5 million books. As he takes us along his groundbreaking journey, Lansky explores the roots of the Yiddish language and introduces us to the brilliant Yiddish writers - from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to Issac Bashevis Singer - whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.

"Lansky's book is not just about the volumes he's saved. Steeped in Yiddishkeit, full of humour and bitter-sweet pathos, it reads like a Sholem Aleichem story... we get a sense of a generation passing, handing on its yerushe, its inheritance, to a younger generation amid feelings of pain, regret and hope."
(Jewish Chronicle)

(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)

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In booklists: Jewish Writers, Poets and Literature, Writers and Poet's Lives and Works, Books About Books!,
In categories: Poetry & Writing, Jewish Diaspora, History & Biography, Humour, Gifts & Seasonal,

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