Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
A cultural survival story, a great read--
on October 20, 2001
A wonderful book, engaging, humorous, warm, and moving, that tells the compelling story of a culture's survival against all odds. The Jewish people, living at the edge of other cultures and nations, kept itself alive through a shared language full of wit, wisdom, irony, compassion, and spiritual resonance. Yiddish: A Nation of Words is less about a religion than it is about the way any group or ethnic culture finds its deep identity, and its common strength, in the bond of words. The book is full of proverbs and bits of poetry--you get a real feel for the language, its sly shrug of humorous resignation, and its emotional pathos. The book also has portraits of unforgettable characters--people like Eliezer Perlman, who turned himself into Ben Yehuda, the architect of modern Hebrew; Esther Frumkin, a Yiddish activist who tangled with Communist Russia; Peretz Markish, the 'heartthrob Yiddish poet'; and Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel laureate. Even the Holocaust is dealt with in a way that salvages meaning and hope from the ashes. Weinstein tells her stories with heart and humor -- a great read, that makes you laugh and cry at the same time, and teaches ways of living in a world of threat and change.