Mike'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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really liked it
bookshelves: 2017, cottage-monthly-book

A true life adventure story about saving books, Outwitting History details an extraordinary endeavor and accomplishment. Unique and at times absorbing, it reads like a dot.com business startup success story, with success measured in terms of books saved and culture preserved. What began as a simple personal quest by author Aaron Lansky, to learn, read and obtain Yiddish books, morphs and eventually evolves into the founding of the National Yiddish Book Center, repository for 1.5+ million Yiddish books. As Lansky alarmingly discovers that generations of Yiddish speakers, writers and notably readers are dying with future generations in families uninterested in maintaining either the language or books of their ancestors, he perceives an urgent need to collect and preserve generations of Yiddish books before their certain destruction; thus lies the impetus and storyline for the 25 year journey of the Center.
The Center didn’t happen without a lot of hard work, dogged determination and vision, and for many of the chapters of Outwitting History the collection of Yiddish books for the Center reads like the diary entry of anyone who has ever had to hastily move college apartments or pitched in to do so: Receive phone call; urgently assemble team of volunteers and friends; formulate rough plan keeping in mind what can go wrong likely will; find and drive rental truck; deviate from plan as unanticipated event encountered; meet interesting people and be inundated with food; save Yiddish books with great personal histories to donor; feeling of teamwork, camaraderie after accomplishment of something noteworthy. Next chapter: repeat entire process.
By saving books from sure destruction Lansky may have preserved not only the books, but a culture that can be studied and assimilated in some form into the future. His extraordinary accomplishment has certainly contributed to outwitting history.
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Reading Progress

May 24, 2017 – Started Reading
May 24, 2017 – Shelved
May 25, 2017 –
page 29
May 26, 2017 –
page 43
May 27, 2017 –
page 79
May 28, 2017 –
page 93
May 29, 2017 –
page 118
June 3, 2017 –
page 151
June 9, 2017 –
page 170
June 15, 2017 –
page 181
June 16, 2017 –
page 210
June 18, 2017 –
page 259
June 19, 2017 –
page 277
June 21, 2017 –
page 289
June 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by J.A.A (new) - added it

J.A.A Are you liking this ??? I'm trying to make an exceptional summer reading list !

Mike Not sure about exceptional, but it's a unique story

message 3: by J.A.A (new) - added it

J.A.A I'm surprised to hear that, because the book has a 4 star rating . I might throw it on my list anyways . Be sure to write a review ! I'll read it .

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