A Well-Read Woman
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.

A Well-Read Woman Details

TitleA Well-Read Woman
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 1st, 2019
PublisherLittle A
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Biography, History, War, Writing, Books About Books

A Well-Read Woman Review

  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Rappaport was not famous, but in Forest-Gumpish fashion she was around historical events. A Jew born in Germany, she was able to get to the US as a teenager, while her parents died in concentration camps. She lived in what became Israel during its formation. She didn't become a Librarian until her mid-thirties, but was a major force in expanding the military library system in Viet Nam during the war. Having spent eight years in 'Nam, she was there longer than most soldiers. Afterwards, she Ruth Rappaport was not famous, but in Forest-Gumpish fashion she was around historical events. A Jew born in Germany, she was able to get to the US as a teenager, while her parents died in concentration camps. She lived in what became Israel during its formation. She didn't become a Librarian until her mid-thirties, but was a major force in expanding the military library system in Viet Nam during the war. Having spent eight years in 'Nam, she was there longer than most soldiers. Afterwards, she got a job at the Library of Congress. Interesting as her personal story was, I didn't particularly like her. Seems people either loved her or disliked her. Her early years were only moderately interesting, perhaps because the book was a bit dry for that part of her life, but I really enjoyed the chapters where she was in Viet Nam. I had no idea the military employed so many librarians and administered such an extensive network. I was also interested in her experiences at the Library of Congress because it was incredibly discriminatory against minorities and women, which you just wouldn't expect from an institution that houses so many books on civil rights! The LC still has problems in that regard, according to the author, who works there. The writing was mediocre, but parts of it were quite illuminating.
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  • Jennifer Burla
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to wade through all the library historyI loved the parts of this book that were actually about Ruth Rappaport. She was such an authentic person, who was honest about her weaknesses and mistakes, all the things that make us human. She wasn’t portrayed as a super-woman, so it was easy to relate to her amazing story. I had a really hard time getting through the material that seemed to have more to do with the history of libraries than the story of Ruth. Sometimes I just couldn’t make the conne Hard to wade through all the library historyI loved the parts of this book that were actually about Ruth Rappaport. She was such an authentic person, who was honest about her weaknesses and mistakes, all the things that make us human. She wasn’t portrayed as a super-woman, so it was easy to relate to her amazing story. I had a really hard time getting through the material that seemed to have more to do with the history of libraries than the story of Ruth. Sometimes I just couldn’t make the connections. I ended up doing a lot of skimming through that material and tried to focus on the parts that were more biographical.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a freebie through the Amazon First Reads program; I picked it from among the month's selections because although I had not previously heard of Ruth Rappaport, she sounded from the description like the type of woman I've come to admire, and I wasn't far off. Rappaport had a truly unusual life, escaping Nazi Germany as a young girl and spending time in places as varied as Israel; Vietnam; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Through her entire life ran a common theme: books.At first, I was This book was a freebie through the Amazon First Reads program; I picked it from among the month's selections because although I had not previously heard of Ruth Rappaport, she sounded from the description like the type of woman I've come to admire, and I wasn't far off. Rappaport had a truly unusual life, escaping Nazi Germany as a young girl and spending time in places as varied as Israel; Vietnam; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Through her entire life ran a common theme: books.At first, I was a little put off by the author's insertions of her own life and experiences throughout the book, but I soon realized that in doing so, she was doing what many readers do when they read a good story: It was her way of making connections with the narrative. In examining the things she had in common with Rappaport and her reactions to what she had learned about her subject, she was doing what many educators do to make reading strategies explicit to younger readers -- making connections to one's life and experiences and to other books and to think about how what we are reading has context in the bigger world around us.Some might argue that a woman like Ruth Rappaport didn't do anything extraordinary to merit a biography being written about her. Though she did some unusual things and in many ways was a woman ahead of her time, her main contributions to the world were in the field of librarianship/library science and are largely unknown to those outside it. Still, there is value about learning about everyday people, particularly women, and this is an interesting glimpse into a fascinating woman. Stewart does not sugar-coat Rappaport in the telling of her life; a reader of this biography learns just as much about Rappaport's personal and professional failings as about her successes. She was a fascinating if flawed woman, and I am glad to have learned about her.
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  • Kathy Selvaggio
    January 1, 1970
    oo many facts lined up, no heart.
  • Donna Hines
    January 1, 1970
    There is much to be said about a Well Read Woman and Ruth certainly fulfilled that mode of thinking.Librarians are the backbone to the heart of any community. They provide services you simply couldn't duplicate anywhere else. They are the lifeline to many who without their services wouldn't be able to fulfill their dreams of a better life, a more educated, well rounded world.This is the story of Ruth Rappaport during some extremely difficult times in trying to keep the love of reading and books There is much to be said about a Well Read Woman and Ruth certainly fulfilled that mode of thinking.Librarians are the backbone to the heart of any community. They provide services you simply couldn't duplicate anywhere else. They are the lifeline to many who without their services wouldn't be able to fulfill their dreams of a better life, a more educated, well rounded world.This is the story of Ruth Rappaport during some extremely difficult times in trying to keep the love of reading and books alive.During her time in Nazi controlled Germany books were forbidden and only certain forms of propaganda were allowed to the citizens.Upon graduating from college she fulfilled her dream of working as a librarian becoming an activist for the Zionist movement.I've often noted having served others in my community over the past 20 yrs that 'work' is not just what brings home a paycheck (if you're lucky to get paid) work is a passion, a calling, a right to serve others in providing a lasting legacy well beyond her years.A nice read albeit a bit fluffy but with some trimming would be must smoother transitioning between the life of Ruth, the history of the times, the parallel universe of book lovers everywhere.Thank you to Kate, the publisher, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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  • Mystica
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating biography of a woman with a colorful history and one with ambition. Ruth Rappaport was a child in Nazi Germany. With Romanian origin parents and a passport which helped since it was not a German one, she was a Jew and faced great danger in Nazi Germany. She was fearless and even as a young child was daring and bold. Faced with an uncertain future, she like thousands of others was shipped to Seattle to join a family and to try to live a life without the luxury of parents or family A fascinating biography of a woman with a colorful history and one with ambition. Ruth Rappaport was a child in Nazi Germany. With Romanian origin parents and a passport which helped since it was not a German one, she was a Jew and faced great danger in Nazi Germany. She was fearless and even as a young child was daring and bold. Faced with an uncertain future, she like thousands of others was shipped to Seattle to join a family and to try to live a life without the luxury of parents or family or money. How Ruth survived the treacherous journeys through Switzerland then to America to Vietnam and back to America all sustained by her love of libraries and books and how she used this to her advantage to seek a life of some sorts despite being without roots, without a home, without a family is an emotional read. For anyone to be not really welcomed, to be just tolerated by family more as an obligation or duty to extended family is a hardship that cannot be endured for long. Ruth had to bear this for a long time because with no money, no education she was dependant on others.How she carved a life for herself out of her libraries, the work she did in Vietnam setting up a fine system for all the forces stationed there was immense. Even on her return her work with libraries continued and even in retirement she was an active force within the community itself. It makes one life seem very dull and mediocre in comparison!
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  • Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps a 3.5 star rating would be about where I land after reading. Stewart's book gave me much to chew on, and I am fascinated by Ruth Rappaport, a sociologist and librarian whose life intersected directly with Nazi Germany, the creation of the new state of Israel, the Red Scare, and the Vietnam War. Her Jewish, feminist, and Communist ties certainly added spice to an already intriguing narrative. I came away thinking it would have been fascinating to have a conversation with Miss Rappaport, k Perhaps a 3.5 star rating would be about where I land after reading. Stewart's book gave me much to chew on, and I am fascinated by Ruth Rappaport, a sociologist and librarian whose life intersected directly with Nazi Germany, the creation of the new state of Israel, the Red Scare, and the Vietnam War. Her Jewish, feminist, and Communist ties certainly added spice to an already intriguing narrative. I came away thinking it would have been fascinating to have a conversation with Miss Rappaport, knowing full well we would have disagreed on a wide range of topics.As for the author, she should receive praise for a well researched and meticulously cited book. Thank goodness a librarian tackled the life of Ruth Rappaport rather than a journalist. At times, Stewart's personal quest to follow Rappaport's life was emotionally touching, and I also appreciated her critiques and analysis of Rappaport's later memories. However, Stewart's habit of finishing chapters with her own stories of her journey through Ruth Rappaport's life was sometimes disruptive to the narrative, even if it was greatly touching at times. Rappaport's life was sometimes lost in a sea of context, particularly in the latter half of the book, and it seemed that the analysis was less thorough when covering Rappaport's Communist ties and connections to a CIA money laundering racket while in Vietnam. I wondered if maybe this was due to Stewart's clear emotional attachment to and admiration for this fascinating woman.When it was said and done, I'm thankful for Amazon Prime's first reads program that made this book available, otherwise, I may have completely overlooked it.
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  • Janette Fuller
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Rappaport was not famous but she lived an extremely courageous and distinguished life. Ms. Stewart used diary entries, letters, and archives to describe Ruth's "life, loves, and legacy." She visited many of the locations where Ruth lived to give the reader a clear understanding of the world as Ruth saw it.I was especially interested in the years that Ruth spent in Vietnam setting up libraries for the soldiers and sending out packets of books/magazines to the front lines. She traveled in hel Ruth Rappaport was not famous but she lived an extremely courageous and distinguished life. Ms. Stewart used diary entries, letters, and archives to describe Ruth's "life, loves, and legacy." She visited many of the locations where Ruth lived to give the reader a clear understanding of the world as Ruth saw it.I was especially interested in the years that Ruth spent in Vietnam setting up libraries for the soldiers and sending out packets of books/magazines to the front lines. She traveled in helicopters to oversee the branch libraries that were operating in remote areas. While in Vietnam, she was romantically involved with a U.S. serviceman for several years before learning that he had a wife and five children back in the States. Alas, Ruth was not lucky in love and never married.The only thing I disliked about this book was the rather long history of the Library of Congress that didn't really have much to do with Ruth's story. The author provided too much (in my opinion) information about the politics, hiring discrimination and other random facts about the Library of Congress during the years that Ruth worked there. I believe this book will find a wide audience with librarians and history buffs who are interested in World War II, Jewish history and the Holocaust.
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  • Erika
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting but did bog down when discussing the intricacies of library work.
  • Daria
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting ConceptThe title of this book began with "A Well-Read Woman..." yet there was very little discussion/description regarding any of the books Ruth read. This was a chronicled telling of her life, which I found confusing at times because the author would add tidbits about her own life, and it would take me a bit to realize we'd left Ruth's story.I also felt that the book would have benefited with more "showing" and less "telling." As a reader I was never allowed to be drawn in by any pa Interesting ConceptThe title of this book began with "A Well-Read Woman..." yet there was very little discussion/description regarding any of the books Ruth read. This was a chronicled telling of her life, which I found confusing at times because the author would add tidbits about her own life, and it would take me a bit to realize we'd left Ruth's story.I also felt that the book would have benefited with more "showing" and less "telling." As a reader I was never allowed to be drawn in by any part of Ruth's life, I was merely told about it. I really thought that Ruth's life and story would be quite interesting, but this account of it didn't capture that feeling. I was really interested in her opinion regarding books that impacted her life, as she spent so much of her life dedicated to books, certainly she had interesting thoughts and insights. Yet this accounting of Ruth's life focused more on the slights and backbiting she experienced.
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  • K Lowery
    January 1, 1970
    No narrative. Nothing but facts jam packed into every paragraph.
  • Bill Meade
    January 1, 1970
    Well built history, a pleasure to readRuth Rappoport was an historical thread starting in Leipzig, running through a tapestry of horrors, distance, idealism, cynicism, culture, family, and opportunity. I've lately been reading WWII books around the edge of conventional war accounts. Histories of Sobibor, of German soldiers on the beaches at D-Day, of Allied tanks (each Sherman tank on average, consumed 5 crews). Ruth's voice added knowledge to my evolving understanding of World War II, Zionism, Well built history, a pleasure to readRuth Rappoport was an historical thread starting in Leipzig, running through a tapestry of horrors, distance, idealism, cynicism, culture, family, and opportunity. I've lately been reading WWII books around the edge of conventional war accounts. Histories of Sobibor, of German soldiers on the beaches at D-Day, of Allied tanks (each Sherman tank on average, consumed 5 crews). Ruth's voice added knowledge to my evolving understanding of World War II, Zionism, gender harrassment, and how to push bureaucracy can be pushed to make masterpieces (Ruth's Vietnam library system), but how more often bureaucracy digs deeper the holes it is already in (Ruth's inability to expand social science LC call numbers to 3500).
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  • Maria Wroblewski
    January 1, 1970
    The subject, Ruth Rappaport, was a very interesting and accomplished woman. She lived a very adventurous life on her own terms with little fear and regret. Then, how does the author make this book on her life a very tedious read? Kate Stewart, the author, does this by not delving into the situations that Ruth experienced and the family, lovers and friends that were very important to Ruth. Instead Kate gives the reader details that hinder the narrative, such items as who ran which of the many zio The subject, Ruth Rappaport, was a very interesting and accomplished woman. She lived a very adventurous life on her own terms with little fear and regret. Then, how does the author make this book on her life a very tedious read? Kate Stewart, the author, does this by not delving into the situations that Ruth experienced and the family, lovers and friends that were very important to Ruth. Instead Kate gives the reader details that hinder the narrative, such items as who ran which of the many zionist organizations, the art of cataloguing and where, why and who ran the libraries in Vietnam. The book is well researched ;yet, most of the facts do not help us understand the story of this incredible woman. The book reads like a research paper. It is 420 pages. It should have been half that. However, Stewart, a librarian herself, has researched and wrote this as if it were a textbook. Stewart mentions interesting characters who inhabited the 20th century, but gives us little insight into their interaction with Rappaport. Wouldn't it be interesting to discover Ruth's interaction with Max Lowenthal and his book on the misdeeds of the mid century FBI? Stewart fills the pages with long excerpts from Rappaport's letters. For example we are given a long excerpt of letter to the parents of a recently deceased coworker. We do not need the rambling text of the original. Instead we could have gotten the idea with a short summary and analysis of what was written. Unfortunately, with Ruth had a pedantic style and, often, her syntax was confusing so the passage has to be reread to get its gist. What is the most distressing is that we do not get a clear idea of out how the subject spent her 17 years of retirement. She was very involved in her neighborhood, in establishing a senior help organization, in keeping the character of her historic neighborhood and had interesting and accomplished people who were her daily companions , but that large, important time of her life was given little attention. Perhaps Kate Stewart could have spent a lot less time telling us about her own experiences and her feelings and expanded on Ruth's final chapter of life. Unfortunately, Rappaport was not a celebrity and not famous, so there will, most likely, not be another biography of her. . However, this book should be read. Ignore the author's millennial political rants, her unremarkable experiences and her knowledge of cataloguing. Skip over those parts and you will find Ruth, a very interesting woman at a particularly interesting period of time. Do your own research, easy since the author has given us a plethora of sources. Perhaps out there is a writer who will bring Ruth to life in a more readable work. (Who edited this biography? Obviously he or she was not paying attention, or needed to sharpen that blue pencil.)
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  • Emi Bevacqua
    January 1, 1970
    Librarian-centric biography of Ruth Rappaport, growing up Jewish with Ukrainian roots in Leipzig Germany, fleeing the Nazi reign of terror, and following her intrepid, international career path. Kate Stewart, author and librarian, writes well and researches tremendously; from the beginning I was struck by how contemporary-sounding teenaged Ruth's diary translations came across, for example "I think my dad was a little bit of a control freak." I think that was a gamble that really paid off in ill Librarian-centric biography of Ruth Rappaport, growing up Jewish with Ukrainian roots in Leipzig Germany, fleeing the Nazi reign of terror, and following her intrepid, international career path. Kate Stewart, author and librarian, writes well and researches tremendously; from the beginning I was struck by how contemporary-sounding teenaged Ruth's diary translations came across, for example "I think my dad was a little bit of a control freak." I think that was a gamble that really paid off in illustrating Rappaport's ahead-of-her-time-ness. Another effect Stewart uses is interjecting herself and her family members sporadically throughout the book, which didn't detract from the biography, but it did have me expecting some kind of Stewart-Rappaport family connection reveal that never was. As involved as Rappaport was in the Zionist cause, she lived much of her life as a non-conforming outsider, constantly moving and immigrating and ex-patting, dating outside her circle, battling sexism and harassment and discrimination as a precursor to the intersectional feminist. I wish the fact that this book is about libraries and librarians had factored more prominently in the title or cover; it seems almost deliberately hidden. Kate Stewart's delivered on many accounts, great biography, great subject, and I love this introduction to so many new "librarian heroes".
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    Received a Kindle copy as a GoodReads giveaway. As a former military librarian and cataloger living in the author's residence city of Tucson, I looked forward to reading this book. To me, though, it was overly detailed and a little too long. I most enjoyed the sections on Ruth's childhood and escape from Nazi Germany and on her time as a librarian in Vietnam. I kind of skimmed through the later section on her work with the Library of Congress. The discussions on cataloging were a bit much even f Received a Kindle copy as a GoodReads giveaway. As a former military librarian and cataloger living in the author's residence city of Tucson, I looked forward to reading this book. To me, though, it was overly detailed and a little too long. I most enjoyed the sections on Ruth's childhood and escape from Nazi Germany and on her time as a librarian in Vietnam. I kind of skimmed through the later section on her work with the Library of Congress. The discussions on cataloging were a bit much even for me, and I think it might be incomprehensible and too dull for many non-librarians. Ruth's life trajectory was interesting, but she definitely came across as a complex, difficult person. I sure wouldn't want her as a boss, not sure I'd want her as a friend. The author doesn't attempt to present her as Saint Ruth. The book seemed well researched and presented a balanced, realistic view of an unusual woman.
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  • Marcy Heller
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Rappaport, who for many years worked in the Library of Congress, lived quite an interesting life. She impacted the world of libraries and library science (her work setting up libraries for soldiers in Vietnam was especially profound). To her credit, the author Kate Stewart has assiduously researched Rappaport's life, but I just couldn't wait to finish the book. I disliked the Ms Rappaport so much I wanted to be done with her. I applaud smart, intelligent, demanding and opinionated women, bu Ruth Rappaport, who for many years worked in the Library of Congress, lived quite an interesting life. She impacted the world of libraries and library science (her work setting up libraries for soldiers in Vietnam was especially profound). To her credit, the author Kate Stewart has assiduously researched Rappaport's life, but I just couldn't wait to finish the book. I disliked the Ms Rappaport so much I wanted to be done with her. I applaud smart, intelligent, demanding and opinionated women, but as portrayed, from her being separated from her parents waiting to escape the Nazis in Switzerland, to her unhappy childhood living with prosperous relatives in the United States, Ruth Rappaport always lacked empathy and warmth --not someone I would have wanted to work for, nor to be in my circle of friends.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I got this through Amazon first reads. I really enjoyed the story about Ruth's life and the things that she was able to accomplish in her life. For me, it is nice to read a story about a woman who lived life on her terms and did not settle for the traditional life that was expected by women. I did skim a little when the author went into the technical parts of the library cataloging at the Library of Congress, but otherwise, it was an engaging read. Also, I would have liked to have read a little I got this through Amazon first reads. I really enjoyed the story about Ruth's life and the things that she was able to accomplish in her life. For me, it is nice to read a story about a woman who lived life on her terms and did not settle for the traditional life that was expected by women. I did skim a little when the author went into the technical parts of the library cataloging at the Library of Congress, but otherwise, it was an engaging read. Also, I would have liked to have read a little more about what Ruth did to fight social injustice. The author skimmed over mentioning that Ruth studied it and did not like it.
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  • Rosie
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Rappaport became a Librarian after living an already interesting life - a Jew in "Nazi" Germany witnessing book burnings and escaping; cousin of Helena Rubenstein and other wealthy family members; living in Seattle and California etc. Going to Israel and joining the army. being investigated for communist ties by the FBI.....Setting up libraries in war zones. Cataloging - this book explains what librarians to organize book subjects - very tedious and interesting.I recommend this book - the a Ruth Rappaport became a Librarian after living an already interesting life - a Jew in "Nazi" Germany witnessing book burnings and escaping; cousin of Helena Rubenstein and other wealthy family members; living in Seattle and California etc. Going to Israel and joining the army. being investigated for communist ties by the FBI.....Setting up libraries in war zones. Cataloging - this book explains what librarians to organize book subjects - very tedious and interesting.I recommend this book - the author sometimes insert her own life of searching for Ruth's background but doesn't warn you when she switches lives - but it is easy to figure out and interesting.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I feel bad to rate this so low, because it wasn't a bad book - it just felt like an unnecessary one. Censorship is something I'm very passionate about, as a librarian, and reading this almost felt like I'd been drawn in by click bait. I expected a lot more about censorship and libraries. About history. Instead, most of this book drones on about Ruth's life. I hate to say her life was boring, especially since she isn't around to defend herself, but she really seems to have been quite selfish and I feel bad to rate this so low, because it wasn't a bad book - it just felt like an unnecessary one. Censorship is something I'm very passionate about, as a librarian, and reading this almost felt like I'd been drawn in by click bait. I expected a lot more about censorship and libraries. About history. Instead, most of this book drones on about Ruth's life. I hate to say her life was boring, especially since she isn't around to defend herself, but she really seems to have been quite selfish and annoying. A good look at the time period, but I think I got more out of the synopses than the book itself.
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  • Konny
    January 1, 1970
    A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport by Kate Stewart is a full length, standalone novel.Ruth Rappaport, who for many years worked in the Library of Congress, lived a life fullfilled and beloved. She was born in Germany, forced to leave Nazideutschland with her family and in the end emigrated to the US.The author paints the picture of a life, colorful, loved and lived to it's fullest.A Well- Read Woman is a gripping read that had me captivated from start til the end. I A Well-Read Woman: The Life, Loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport by Kate Stewart is a full length, standalone novel.Ruth Rappaport, who for many years worked in the Library of Congress, lived a life fullfilled and beloved. She was born in Germany, forced to leave Nazideutschland with her family and in the end emigrated to the US.The author paints the picture of a life, colorful, loved and lived to it's fullest.A Well- Read Woman is a gripping read that had me captivated from start til the end. I loved the story and the characters and I greatly enjoyed reading the book.
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  • linda levy
    January 1, 1970
    If you’ve read enough WWII books, here’s one from a different angleRuth Rappaport escapes Nazi Germany, but also participates in Israels’s new freedom and the Vietnam Conflict, major events in 20th century America, not as a combatant but as a citizen. I’m not a library student and always saw it as a profession ‘away from current events’ this book emphasizes library science as mainstream to the worls’s events. Also, Ruth was a daring woman of her time.The book is clear, descriptive, and easy to r If you’ve read enough WWII books, here’s one from a different angleRuth Rappaport escapes Nazi Germany, but also participates in Israels’s new freedom and the Vietnam Conflict, major events in 20th century America, not as a combatant but as a citizen. I’m not a library student and always saw it as a profession ‘away from current events’ this book emphasizes library science as mainstream to the worls’s events. Also, Ruth was a daring woman of her time.The book is clear, descriptive, and easy to read.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating story, Fascinating womanFrom the beginning it is clear that Ruth Rappaport is not your typical person. Her poise and internal strength are truly inspiring. I found myself wishing i had been more like her and wondering how I can inspire my girls to go after things the way she did.Her experiences and her openness in her personal writings really give great insight into difficult subjects, history and courage. This isn’t just a book for librarians! I learned so much and gained a much gre Fascinating story, Fascinating womanFrom the beginning it is clear that Ruth Rappaport is not your typical person. Her poise and internal strength are truly inspiring. I found myself wishing i had been more like her and wondering how I can inspire my girls to go after things the way she did.Her experiences and her openness in her personal writings really give great insight into difficult subjects, history and courage. This isn’t just a book for librarians! I learned so much and gained a much greater appreciation for the role of librarians in our lives and communities.
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  • Bj Travis Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    I give up! This book should not have been titled "A Well Read Woman: the life, loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport" because the author didn't seem to know much about her at all! She took the facts she had managed to gather about Ruth and inserted them into a history timeline. Never did get to know Ruth at all.Why did the author write about herself, i.e. losing her job etc? Totally confusing to a reader.As I said I gave up after reading more than half of the book. I kept hoping she was going to c I give up! This book should not have been titled "A Well Read Woman: the life, loves, and Legacy of Ruth Rappaport" because the author didn't seem to know much about her at all! She took the facts she had managed to gather about Ruth and inserted them into a history timeline. Never did get to know Ruth at all.Why did the author write about herself, i.e. losing her job etc? Totally confusing to a reader.As I said I gave up after reading more than half of the book. I kept hoping she was going to connect with Ruth but it didn't happen.
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  • Jill B
    January 1, 1970
    Really interesting book! Ruth may not have become famous but she lead an interesting life despite some set backs. The Nazi's and the Swiss definitely had major impacts but she also got in her own way as well. She's a flawed person, as are we all, but she still made a difference to the people she knew and to how we all can find the books we need.It's also a great look at libraries and the importance of librarians, written by a librarian.
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  • Alexis Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating Biography I chose this book on a whim and it turned out to be a great read! Ruth's life was fascinating and her story was one that kept me turning pages. I will say, there were a few very lazy errors in this book; Yokota Air Base" was spelled wrong, all of the military serves were lowercase and the ranks of military personnel were also lowercase. Aside from that, this was a fantastic read.
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  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a biography written by a librarian about a librarian. The author never met her subject but did a voracious amount of research to piece this story together. There were parts that read like a research paper; and, other parts, that I found very interesting. I particularly enjoyed reading about Ruth's eight years in Vietnam. Ruth Rappaport was feisty, highly intelligent, self-absorbed, outspoken, and daring. And, she loved books.
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  • Mary Cassidy
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating exploration of the adventurous life of a librarian, yes, a librarian. We can be the most interesting people in the world. She was a woman of the world quite literally, living on three continents and in two war zones, drinking, dancing, smoking, living with married men, reading, supplying books to soldiers, and ending at the Library of Congress fighting the good fight for women and minorities. Strongly recommend.
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  • Arthea J. Larson
    January 1, 1970
    UnexpectedI have read many books that began in Nazi Germany, but this one was so unexpected. Ruth was certainly a unique and complicated woman, fiercely independent and more than a little neurotic. She fit many lifetimes into her years and each stands by itself as evidence of her maverick spirit.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Not worth it the time. It’s tedious reading. Rappaport is not an interesting person, she is simply a self centered, opinionated pain in the butt. The book has weird sections where the author describes her trips to do research on the book, which only serves to make this an even longer book. I needed a better editor and, really, it needed to not be written.
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  • Shannon Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    I can't say that Ruth was likable, but she survived a lot. I learned about the beginnings of Israel and how the armed services employed so many librarians, especially during the Vietnam War. Interesting history presented in this biography.
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