Barbie and Ruth
The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her
By Robin Gerber
(HarperBusiness, Hardcover, 9780061341311, 288pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
List Price: $24.99*
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The tragic and redeeming story of how one visionary woman built the biggest toy company in the world and created a global icon.
Barbie and Ruth is the entwined story of two exceptional women. There's Barbie: the diminutive yet arrestingly voluptuous doll unveiled at the 1959 Toy Fair who became the treasure of 90 percent of American girls and their counterparts in 150 countries. She went on to compete as an Olympic athlete, serve as an air force pilot, work as a boutique owner, run as a presidential candidate, and ignite a cultural firestorm.
And then there's Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator: the tenth child of Polish Jewish immigrants, a passionately competitive and creative business pioneer, and a mother and wife who wanted it all. After a business scandal that forced Ruth out of Mattel, the company she founded, she drew on her experience as a breast cancer survivor to start a business that changed women's lives. She was ultimately honored as a pioneer, humanitarian, and masterful entrepreneur.
Based on original research, extensive interviews, and previously unavailable material, Barbie and Ruth tells the fascinating story of how two women forever changed American business and culture.
Robin Gerber is the author of several books, including Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way, Katharine Graham, and the novel Eleanor vs. Ike. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.