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Publisher's Summary

The inspiring true story of an indomitable librarian’s journey from Nazi Germany to Seattle to Vietnam - all for the love of books.

Growing up under Fascist censorship in Nazi Germany, Ruth Rappaport absorbed a forbidden community of ideas in banned books. After fleeing her home in Leipzig at fifteen and losing both parents to the Holocaust, Ruth drifted between vocations, relationships, and countries, searching for belonging and purpose. When she found her calling in librarianship, Ruth became not only a witness to history but an agent for change as well.

Culled from decades of diaries, letters, and photographs, this epic true story reveals a driven woman who survived persecution, political unrest, and personal trauma through a love of books. It traces her activism from the Zionist movement to the Red Scare to bibliotherapy in Vietnam and finally to the Library of Congress, where Ruth made an indelible mark and found a home. Connecting it all, one constant thread: Ruth’s passion for the printed word, and the haven it provides - a haven that, as this singularly compelling biography proves, Ruth would spend her life making accessible to others. This wasn’t just a career for Ruth Rappaport. It was her purpose.

©2019 by Kathryn Stewart. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“Stewart is frank about Rappaport’s prickly personality…Those details, coupled with more admirable qualities like curiosity and drive, serve to make her an entertaining presence. A lively, chatty exploration of a life that veered in many intriguing directions.” --Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about A Well-Read Woman

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Adventure! Books! Romance! Nazis!

Ruth Rappaport is one of the most interesting women I'd never heard of. She escaped the Nazis, lived all over the world, worked as a journalist, slept around, smoked, threw wonderful parties, served in Vietnam and read many fabulous books. She was brave and flawed and fascinating.

Listen to this fabulous biography, poignantly and sensitively told by another fascinating female librarian. With themes of global displacement, sexual harassment and the place of real facts in a world of fake news - this book is very relevant and important.

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  • Thresea Dowell
  • 27-03-2020

Amazing story, incredible life

Loved the independent and adventurous spirit, no BS attitude, and unbelievable history of Ruth Rappaport. I wish the author had kept to Ruth's story instead of adding her own political opinion at the end. Otherwise, a good book about an extraordinary woman.

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