Viajando Con Mr. Albert
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Viajando Con Mr. Albert

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  1,472 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Driving Mr. Albert chronicles the adventures of an unlikely threesome--a freelance writer, an elderly pathologist, and Albert Einstein's brain--on a cross-country expedition intended to set the story of this specimen-cum-relic straight once and for all.

After Thomas Harvey performed Einstein's autopsy in 1955, he made off with the key body part. His claims that he was stud

Paperback, 284 pages
Published June 28th 2001 by Rba Libros (first published 2000)
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This book should have a lot going for it; a cross country journey, a potentially nutty doctor as a passenger, and the brain of one of the most important people of the 20th century. Instead this book is tedious, ponderous, repetitive, boring, often nauseating as well. If I cared enough about this book I'd go get my dictionary to find more words to describe how boring it is. Boring writer (BW) takes a trip with an elderly doctor with questionable standards of morality and has a tedious trip cross...more
I can't actually remember whether I thought this book deserved 2 or 3 stars when I finished it a few months ago, but since my main memory of the book is what a listless bore it was, I suppose that's a good sign I should go with the lesser. Driving Mr. Albert is another of the dreaded "road trip" novels, to which self-indulgent authors are so hopelessly drawn...and for some unknown reason appeal to me in the aisles of the book store, despite the way they continue to disappoint. In this installmen...more
David Glenn Dixon
Washington City Paper
Arts & Entertainment : Book Review

By Glenn Dixon • October 6, 2000

Sometimes America is simply too big for its own good. It can make an epic out of an anecdote. If the Twentieth Century's Blue Ribbon Kitsch Icon, Intellectual Division, had had his gray matter snipped out of his brainpan and carted cross-country 40-odd years later, and the country in question were Liechtenstein, you'd have to be naked and dragging the thing by its medulla with your teeth for...more
Jul 13, 2012 Jennuineglass rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: andy lake, ryan burgess
The oddest little book I've read in quite some time. I think many would find this book enjoyable as long as they come to it with no expectations. At 200 pages that should be easy enough, you aren't locked into much.

The premise is that a journalist, questioning his own place in life, offers to drive Dr Harvey across America, from coast to coast, so that he may meet the granddaughter of Albert Einstein. And oh, Dr. Harvey is the man who "stole" Einstein's brain during an autoposy where for the las...more
The weird premise of this book- that there are two guys traveling across America with the brain of Einstein in the trunk- is what drew me in in the first place. It would be difficult to find something quirkier; how could it not be interesting?

What you actually get is a view into the lives of the two living and one long-dead passenger.

It was a plus to learn something of the life of Albert Einstein. Like everyone else, I associate him with genius, know he E=MC 2'ed, and that's about it.

It turns o...more
Driving Mr. Albert one is one of those unique works that elude interpretive hyperboles a ‘magnum opus’. You don’t describe it you experience it.

The weighty equation E=mc2 and the theory of relativity, conjure up images of a wiry-haired wrinkled genius known to the world as Albert Einstein. The author, Paterniti, mixes his own equation with words. The result? More than just a relative success, Driving Mr. Albert is a light and amiable concoction of humor, eccentricity, wit, poignancy, as well as...more
This book has two bad stinks wafting around it. First, it has the stink of a puffed-up magazine article that an editor somewhere decided could be a book. (I checked, and it was originally in “Harper’s” in 1997).

Second, and worse, it has the stink of a writer finding something unusual to do in order to write a book about it. Horse/cart problems.

But both of these are, at times, forgivable – good magazine articles can indeed become great books, particularly when the subject is far from exhausted a...more
For years, I eagerly waited to read "Driving Mr. Albert." I loved the idea of a road trip with Einstein's brain, and my enthusiasm psyched me out. By the time I actually tackled it, the book was destined to disappoint me -- but it was not for any reason I could have anticipated. The problem is not the book itself, which is a perfectly decent read. The problem is the time it was published, the year 2000.

Michael Paterniti was clearly writing as a late-90s author, and a straight male one to boot. Y...more
Joe Cummings
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Albert Einstein was one of the two dead celebrities/ heroes that we all knew. He was the guy who looks like a eccentric but lovable great uncle who was super-intelligent because he used a greater percentage of his brain than the rest of us mortals. Everyone admired Albert Einstein.

Michael Paterniti's "Driving Mr. Albert" [2000] is an examination of the cost and curse of celebrity. The book focuses around Professor Albert Einstein and Doctor Thomas Harv...more
This book has been on my radar for a long time, so I picked it when I hosted my book club. The subject matter is fascinating - I had no idea of the background story, nor did I believe it was true. And while the author taking a road trip with Einstein's brain and the man that may or may not have stolen it so many years ago piqued my interest, the book was kind of all over the map (no pun intended). There are some great facts about Einstein and his inner circle, and it definitely made me want to r...more
Did you ever read a book that started off really well and then at about page 75 you realize that you can reasonably enjoy about 25 more pages only to discover that you're reading a 211 page book!?
So disappointing.
It's an interesting book but I think maybe the author found himself with less material than he'd been hoping for and tried to beef up the book with extra, un-necessary story lines?
This book is, for the author, a love-story and a book about finding himself.
For the reader, it would be mu...more
Phil Clymer
The idea of this book is much more interesting than the book itself. It includes way more information on brain matter than any normal person needs or even wants to know. The human passenger on this excursion is an elderly former doctor who is presented in a kindly light but the fact of the matter is he is a thief, a former pathologist who stole the brain of a cadaver who happened to be Einstein. The motive was lofty perhaps, the intent to scientifically study the brain of one of the 20th century...more
Angie Fehl
If a book has anything to do with Albert Einstein, chances are I'm going to want to read it. This one reeled me in with the blurb on the back -- "part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography, and part meditation, Driving Mr. Albert is one of the most unique road trips in modern literature". Alas, I was duped! I was hoping for little known stories of Einstein, shenanigans with the doctor who "borrowed" Einstein's brain, something like that. But there just wasn't much of that to be f...more
The book started off as a promise it would be interesting. I enjoyed to learn more about Einstein and Harvey: I never knew the brain was taken! But the trip itself was too long, and I didn't see the point of some episodes, like the Japan description or that of the concrete (cement) park. When I finished it, I told my husband I found a book for him: this is something he'd really enjoy, with not many things happening and easy puns and some information for entertainment. Yes, he said, he's read it...more
Meg Tisinger
I stumbled upon this delightful piece of non-fiction in the audio-book section of our local library. I have to say the topic intrigued me, but I did not expect to go down a twist-turn path of history, regret, genius, humanity, and the perception of time. Paterniti acts as a window into a weird piece of 20th century history. In his cross-country journey with Thomas Stoltz Harvey, the pathologist who removed Einstein's brain, he examines what is not only innately human about us, but also hints at...more
Chi Dubinski
When pathologist Thomas Harvey performed the autopsy on Albert Einstein in 1955, he removed the brain and took it home. He same some pieces of the brain away to other scientists and kept the rest in a Tupperware container in his garage. Dr. Harvey eventually left Princeton, lost his medical license, and ending up working in a plastics factory in Kansas. The author tracks down Harvey, and plans a drive across the country to deliver the brain to Einstein’s granddaughter Evelyn in San Francisco. Al...more
is nothing sacred in this country? Who knew Einstein's brain took a voyage without his torso.
Not exactly what I was expecting--from the characters or the storyline. This book had been on my reading list for what seemed like ages and I suppose I was expecting a more cerebral experience. Having just finished Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, I was hoping to continue with a read that was teeming with facts. Although I did discover one surprising detail about Einstein, the remainder of the background regarding his life wa...more
This may be one of the strangest books I have read (except for the one about Australian hats) since beginning work at Logos Books. This is a true story of "a trip across America with Einstein's brain." Thomas Harvey, who performed the autopsy on the famous scientist in 1955, just decided to remove his brain, take it home with him, and keep it there--for over 40 years! He has given pieces of it away to various scientists, but the bulk of the brain remains in a tupperware container in formaldeheid...more
This book works on so many levels. At the very base of it, it's the story of a journey undertaken by the author with eighty-four year old Thomas Harvey, the pathologist whose autopsy of Albert Einstein resulted in his controversial possession of the genius's brain for the next several decades. The trip takes the pair completely across the country, from Harvey's home in New Jersey all the way to Berkeley, California. The given reason for the trip is twofold... Harvey wants to make contact with a...more
Jan 23, 2011 Jen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody

Summary from the back of the book: "Albert Einstein's brain floats in a Tupperware bowl in a gray duffel bag in in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is journalist Michael Paterniti. Sitting next to him is an eighty-four-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey, who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955 - then simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years."

So, here we go: my first negative rev...more
What surprised me the most is that Paterniti’s a really good writer. He knows how to do that thing where he makes small details significant. Like maybe a town he drove through or a house he passed, a stranger he met, a gift he was given. And in a book about a road trip, where most experiences happen at 60 mph and last all of two seconds, that thing is necessary. As he catches sight of a train he writes, “In the vast nothingness of Arizona, running parallel to the highway, a train slivers West in...more
The Story:
Paterniti is a journalist who hears a rumor/urban legend that some guy in Kansas has Albert Einstein's brain floating in a jar in his basement. One thing leads to another and he winds up meeting the man who does in fact, keep Einstein's brain in a jar. Again, one thing leads to another, and Paterniti offers to drive Thomas Harvey across the country to California, so he can meet with Evelyn Einstein -- Albert's granddaughter. The book is the true story of their trip.

The review:
The idea...more
John Alt
Steven Levy said that he had an almost religious experience when he found it in Wichita, Kansas. A journalist for a magazine, New Jersey Monthly, he knew it had been missing since Einstein's death. Yes, missing. The most brilliant mind of all time was buried without his head intact when he died in 1955. By 1978, when Levy's editor told him to find it, the trail had gone cold. People speculated as to where it might be, but nobody had found it. After some investigation, Levy concluded rather logic...more
Matthew Timion
I'll echo what most people said about this book... it was a bit odd.

The premise is great. Driving Einstein's brain across the country to meet up with Einstein's granddaughter. It's one of those stories you can tell at a party and everyone will be around you as you give the details; making you the most popular person at the party.

The actual story, however, seemed to get a bit jumbled.

It was part personal memoir, part biographical (Dr. Havey - the keeper of the brain, and Einstein). Those parts w...more
Do you like to have a short-story collection along on a road trip, one that lets you pick it up with pleasure but allows you to put it down for a next leg without the nagging sensation that you've been left hanging in the grip of a driving narrative? If so, this is a great road-trip book for you. Just enough science and self-analysis to make you feel proud of yourself for choosing it over a James Patterson novel (doesn't it make you feel a LITTLE smart, just by association with Einstein's name,...more
Michael Paterniti gives us an account of traveling across country with Einstein's brain in the trunk and the man who became Keeper of the Brain in the passenger seat. Along the way he explores the psychology of fetishism, of relic worshiping and of the collector. From the Romans who ran forward to dip their hands in the blood of the assassinated Julius Caesar to those that make pilgrimages to worship at an altar containing a finger bone of a revered Saint, this psychology has been with us in man...more
Pablo Caminada
Driving Mr.Albert, a travel account written by Michael Paterniti, is a fairly lackluster story based on such a polarizing chain of events involving a legendary man. During Einstein's autopsy in 1955, Dr. Thomas Harvey, a curious man to say the least, simply removed the brain and took it home. His brain theft put a charge into the scientific community, and most people were outraged by his selfishness. Unfortunately, that story would have made a better novel than what Paterniti gives us. His story...more
I'm quite sure that I had heard of this book on NPR back when it was published, and it sounded like a pretty interesting story. At that time, I didn't got around to picking it up, but in the last year or so, I came across it in a pile of discarded books in my apartment building's basement, so, I took it home and put it on the shelf.

The book was an easy read, but as has been suggested in reviews elsewhere here, the cross-country trip didn't provide that much fodder for a full-length book. Oh, Pat...more
Who wouldn't savor a cross country drive with Albert Einstein's brain tucked in a Tupperware bowl in the trunk of your rented Buick Skylark with a slightly off kilter pathologist, and former neighbor of William S. Burroughs, riding shotgun? What's not to like?!?!?! You learn a little and laugh a lot. Mostly you'll be pulling those tilted-head looks that your dog gives when you're just not sure that it could possibly be true. Apparently it is! AWESOME READ!!!!!
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Michael Paterniti won the 1998 National Magazine Award for his article "Driving Mr. Albert," which was first published in Harper's Magazine. A former executive editor of Outside, his work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, Details, and Esquire, where he is writer-at-large. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and son.
More about Michael Paterniti...
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