Esther's Reviews > Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books

Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky
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it was amazing

Never a book I would have picked up on my own, which is a shame, because it's deeply engaging, fabulously entertaining and, unexpectedly, quite moving. Lansky has a great narrative voice and is a terrifically sympathetic "protagonist" to follow through this story, which is full of compassion, back-breaking schedules and a parade of old Jews who are watching their world vanish before our very eyes.

It's hard to summarize this one without wanting to simply shove the book at anyone who's literate and beg them to read it. On my part, it opened up a lot about Jewishness for me, and I say this as someone who's not and never has been particularly religious. One point the author makes is his hesitation regarding "the Borscht Belt," the Catskills region "that turned Yiddish into a punchline." If nothing else, this book really gave Yiddish and the Yiddish-speaking world a dignity I hadn't begun to grasp, even after hearing stories of such relatives my whole life.

Jews and non-Jews should absolutely read this book. I really did laugh and cry and miss train stops because of it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 8, 2011 – Shelved
January 8, 2011 – Finished Reading

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