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.