A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport

Little A: Amazon. Apr. 2019. 345p. bibliog. ISBN 9781503904156. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781503904149. $14.95. BIOG
In this well-researched debut, longtime LJ reviewer Stewart shares the unconventional story of librarian Ruth Rappaport (1923–2010). Inspired by her childhood in Nazi Germany, where she witnessed the banning and burning of books, Rappaport ultimately embarked on a career that included managing libraries in Vietnam for the U.S. military and later working at the Library of Congress (LOC). Stewart, also a former LOC employee, was introduced to this story following an invitation to Rappaport's estate sale. This led her on a journey across the globe following Rappaport's footsteps and paper trail, including letters, diary entries, and photographs. Rappaport was strongly influenced by the deaths of her parents in the Holocaust, as well as her immigration to the United States. Stewart adeptly fleshes out the life and motivations of Rappaport, who was often characterized as difficult, and succeeds in bringing to light a strong woman whose love of books helped inspire a life driven by purpose.
VERDICT Rappaport's larger-than-life story will entrance readers. Recommended where biographies circulate widely.
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