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Natan has accomplished what many thought couldn’t be done. Through painstaking and conscientious research, he has reconstructed Shlomo’s life and career and has managed to offer readers a glimpse of this illui’s many sides. As someone who was interviewed for the book, I can testify that Natan wanted this portrayal to be as accurate as possible, and to that end he was willing to accept multiple corrections and make multiple revisions until he and his informants were all satisfied with the result. We are now in an era when many of Shlomo’s most ardent adherents did not actually know him or had very limited contact with him. Without accurate information readily available, legends about an already legendary figure can easily proliferate, and people can, without realizing what they are doing, recreate a hero according to their own preferred image, and ascribe views to him that they hold but that he did not. Natan’s book brings clarity to the often asked questions, “Who was Reb Shlomo?” and “What was he like?” Those of us who knew him can still tell our stories, sing and play his music, and give over his teachings, but now there will be a factual version to serve as a check upon many of the exaggerations and distortions that have frequently been circulated.
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