Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family
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Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  206 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A new portrait of the two-time Nobel winner and her two daughters



Focusing on the first family in science, this biography of Marie Curie plumbs the recesses of her relationships with her two daughters, extraordinary in their own right, and presents the legendary scientist to us in a fresh way.

Although the common image is that of a shy introvert toiling away in her laborato...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade
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Dee
It is hard to believe that any one could take the life stories of one of the most famous female scientists in the world and her two daughters, who were accomplished in their own right, and make it barely readable. Yet that's exactly what happened here. The author's first wrong turn was to start the narrative sometime after Pierre, Marie's husband, had died in an accident. I get it, the book is called,Marie and Her Daughters, not Marie and Pierre and Their Daughters. But by starting the story at...more
Anne
I try to read a couple of non-fiction books every month, I enjoy biographies and travel books. I was delighted to receive a copy of Marie Curie and her Daughters by Shelley Emling through my letter-box a few weeks ago. The book will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on 20 September 2012.
Science has never really been my 'thing'. At school I really struggled with physics and chemistry and was much happier in English Language or History classes. My mind is not structured enough to understand how s...more
Susan
There was much disagreement in my book club over whether or not this was a good book. I very much enjoyed it and did not feel it was poorly written. Some book club members noted some factual discrepencies that I am not sure about. Even if there are mistakes, though, I very much enjoyed seeing the human side of Marie Curie. We so often think of her as solely a super-scientist (which she was), and don't know anything about the rest of her life.

I was fascinated with both her parenting (sending dif...more
Jan
I wish I could give this a higher rating. When I was in high school I read with great interest the book by Evgrandaughtere Curie which was the Biography of her mother Madame Curie. I was so impressed with her drive and her interest in excelling and finding great scientific discoveries (65) This book revealed the hidden side of the Marie Curie, and her affair with a younger married man whidh dres the enmity of the French establishment and caused great international disfavor. It was only America w...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Before reading this book, I had very limited knowledge about Marie Curie. I knew that she and her husband were both scientists. I knew she was a woman pioneer with it came to science. I knew she did a lot of important work with radium. I knew that a lot of her research was the basis for a lot of the radiation treatments that are still used today to treat things like cancer. That's about all I knew so it was really interesting to read this book in order to get a better idea of the impact that Mar...more
Jane Hammons
Not a beautifully written book, but an interesting and important one as it contains letters between Curie and her daughters that have never been used in the many biographies of Curie and were translated into English for the purpose of using in this book. Emling also interviews Curie's granddaughter for this book as well. The book focuses on the story of Curie after winning her two Nobel prizes when she is trying to establish her Radium Institute and replenish her supply of uranium, both very cos...more
Linda
I call this a "supplemental" biography that continues the story of Marie's life with her daughters' and grandchildren's lives and tremendous contributions in science and humanitarian efforts. Marie Curie has been one of my heroes since reading daughter Eve's biography of her mother 50 years ago. This book picks up after Marie's famous discoveries, and delves into her affair with her deceased husband's brilliant student Paul Langevin, her heroic work providing x-rays during World War I, her tour...more
Nancy
I've read several biographies of Marie Curie over the past 50 plus years. Generally they tell of her hard work leading up to winning the Noble Prize in Physics in 1903 and the Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1911. Her life after that time is then summed up in a final chapter without much detail. This book is primarily focused on the last 25 years of her life (she died in 1934) and the lives of her daughters.

Ms. Emling tells a number of interesting stories about the 3 women, but there is no big stor...more
Anna
I really enjoyed this book, I found it very interesting. It gave me a lot of new information. I learnt a lot about Marie Curie, her scientific work, the way she was inspired by the science, it gave me an insight how the scientists worked with each other. All this in an interesting historical background. I hadn't known too much about radioactivity, radioactiv elements, nuclear physics before, but this book could describe these notions in a way which I could not only comprehend but I also found ve...more
Dayna Smith
This amazing biography picks up after the death of Pierre Curie and follows the life of Marie and her daughters, Irene and Eve, through two trips to America, WWII, and the end of their lives. The story is well told and covers matieral most readers may not be familiar with. A book that should encourage girls that a career in science is not only possible, but desirable.
Heather Hufnagel
I knew so little of Currie's children. Her girls are Amazing women on their own. I love stories about families and how much parents influence children...but despite all the genetics, and teaching ... Children are who they are. It's fun to watch them grow !
Jennifer
I read this for a book group of women in science and medicine. It's an interesting spin on Marie Curie, starting after her major discoveries, in the part of her life when she was cementing her reputation and the future of her field and coping with the fallout (pun intended) from working with radioactivity, both personally and professionally. It also detailed her relationship with her two daughters, one similarly driven, and the other, a very different person.

I didn't grow up with Marie Curie as...more
Andy Shuping
Review copy provided by LibraryThing

In this short, but fascinating book, Shelley Emling tells the story of one of the most renowned science families, Marie Curie and her daughters. Often portrayed as an introvert or subservient to her husband Pierre Curie, Emling shows that Marie was a power to be reckoned with, not only redefining science for generations to come, but being a humanitarian as well. Emling draws on personal letters and interviews from Curie's only granddaughter, providing an in-de...more
Leeanna
I’ve been interested in Marie Curie ever since I wrote a paper on her in college, and I thought MARIE CURIE AND HER DAUGHTERS would be an interesting read, especially since I knew nothing about her daughters.

The book picks up after Pierre’s death, and has only hints about Marie’s early life. There’s not a lot mentioned on Irene and Eve’s childhoods either, other than that they were often away from their mother because she was so busy with her work, and that she was concerned about their educati...more
Holly Weiss
“They made things happen for themselves.” So states author Shelley Emling about two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie and her equally extraordinary daughters, Eve and Irene. Many people remember that Marie Curie the Nobel Prize for both chemistry and physics. Few know that Irene was a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and Eve an author, humanitarian and foreign correspondent. Rather than merely a stark investigation of these women’s professional achievements, the book explores their personal liv...more
Faith Justice
I enjoyed this biography. There isn't much written about Curie's later life or her relationship with her daughters. This book fills the gaps. I was totally unaware that her oldest daughter and granddaughter followed in her footsteps as well-known and important scientists. If not for WWII, Irene Curie and her husband Frederic would likely have cracked the atom. They were leaders in France's nuclear energy scene post war. I was even more surprised to learn about Curie's younger daughter Eve, who w...more
Kipi
This was a very interesting story about the last two decades of Marie Curie's life, the years after her husband Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn cart as he crossed the street in Paris. As the title suggests, the focus of the book is on both Madame Curie's work and the relationship with her two daughters, Irene and Eve. As a person who is interested in the history of the women's movement and women's rights in America and throughout the world, I found the aspect of Marie's acceptance into the sc...more
Arunachalam Bharathi
This is a well written book, concentrating on the later life of Madame Curie. She is portrayed as a woman who toiled and gave her life for the sheer joy of discovery. She is extra special, for she received the Nobel prize for Physics jointly with her husband (Pierre Curie) and Becqueral and in Chemistry by herself for the discovery of Radium. This story also pertains to her involvement with her daughters, whom she nurtured to have a purpose and Goal in life. Her elder daughter Irene Curie follow...more
AJ
Marie Curie and her Daughters is a compelling and fascinating account of Marie Curie's personal life and the lives of her daughters. Many books about the quintessential female scientist focus on her prodigious scientific achievements, but this one delves a little deeper into her relationships with her daughters and other family members.

I find it fascinating how little has changed in 100 years when it comes to the dilemmas women face when they are faced with a career in science and raising a fam...more
penny
My school years were apparently those when the remarkable achievements of Marie Curie and _both_ her daughters were not in the lexicon as they are today. That is the only reason I can conceive as to why no one ever handed me a biography or suggested I gain more than a cursory knowledge of Mme Curie. Or, they just assumed this bookworm had already read everything there was on her. During my final term in college I took a course on Science, State Power, and Ethics. While that course was well over...more
Kendra
I liked this book because of the information it provided, but I think it could have been written in a different way that would have made it 10x better. I'm glad Emling chose to investigate Marie's life after Pierre died and after she received her Nobels. I'm also glad she provided so much information about Marie's two daughters, because they were certainly fascinating people in their own right. However, the writing was a little subpar. It didn't really bother me at first, but as I got further in...more
Megan
I enjoyed this book a lot. I found the details of Marie's life during the 20s, 30s, and 40s very interesting, as her work in radioactivity begins to find dramatic applications for both good and ill. I also enjoyed detailing the lives of her daughters, who are overshadowed in history by their parents, but in fact had many wonderful achievements of their own and deserve acclaim. I always enjoy endeavors to flesh out historical figures and show them as fully-realized human beings. History often glo...more
Matt Heavner
I've always been amazed by Marie & Irene's scientific awesomeness. But this book really shows how they are much more amazing, and Eve's life an impact is also amazing. The only question I really want answered is "how do I raise my daughter to be like them?"

Even if you are familiar with Marie Curie's amazing story, you really should read this. You'll be amazed.
Lauren
Interesting book in that it covered so much of Marie's life and that of her daughters and granddaughter. It highlighted new information taken from diaries and recently released letters.
The two things I didn't care for were the author's writing style which wasn't captivating and trying to prove (almost desperately) that Marie was a devoted mother.

In reality, Marie was gone from her daughters for long periods of time and they were left in the care of nannies. This was partly due to the generation...more
Charity Finnestad
I really enjoyed this look into the life of a woman who changed life on earth for all of us.
Priya Sekar
great to review history and celebrate a amazing woman and her family but very poorly written
J.E.
Dec 29, 2013 J.E. added it
This book could have been better, as it is not very well written. I found myself editing a lot of hackneyed phrases, as well as reading the same quotes and information again within a page or two. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating story about the world-changing yet very different accomplishments of Marie Curie, her daughter Irene, also a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and the writer and humanitarian Eve Curie, who traveled the world as well as writing the famous biography of Madame Curie.
Jeanne Neusetzer
I was eager to learn about Ms. Curie of whom I knew very little before reading this book. On that score I was pleased. The story only begins after the bulk of her research is complete, after her husband had died, and after she had reached notoriety. I gather a story about the first half of her life, rather than the latter half, would have been more interesting to me. The "action" unfortunately really grinds to a halt by the last 25% of the book. So in a word, the book was DRY.
Lici
I just didn't feel there was enough material here for a book. It's more of a supplement to the story of Marie Curie and could probably be contained to a few chapters in a biography of her life. There was a lot of repetition of information which made it feel like she was stretching to fill the book. It was also told in a "just the facts, ma'am" voice and despite her inserting (sometimes odd) hints of excitement to come, I never felt very compelled to read on.
Aimee
Though very interesting, I found the pacing of this book slow. I struggled to finish the final chapters once we had discussed it in book club. The author could have used a better editor, however. There was just too much repetition, especially toward the end. That said, I learned a lot much and gained a new respect for Marie Curie, her family, and many of the nameless researchers who contribute to our understanding of the world around us.
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Shelley Emling has been a journalist for 20 years. She was born in Missouri. Later she grew up in Dallas, Texas. She went to the University of Texas and started her journalism career at UPI.

Shelley is the author of two books: Your Guide to Retiring in Mexico, and most recently, The Fossil Hunter, published by Macmillan in 2009 about paleontologist Mary Anning, whom Shelley had learned of while on...more
More about Shelley Emling...
The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World

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