Rebecca's Reviews > Einstein: His Life and Universe

Einstein by Walter Isaacson
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's review
Jul 16, 2011

it was amazing

This book took me almost a year to read in its entirety. Not because of lack of interest or poor writing, as Einstein is one of the most profound figures to affect my imagination and Isaacson captures him brilliantly. My issue is with exactly that: Isaacson presents the reader with the real Einstein. We all know him to have been a genius without equal, a bit of an eccentric but beloved and revered all the same. Isaacson removes the veil, brandishing Einstein's mistreatment of his first wife and sons, his dalliances with married women, his stubborn refusal to accept quantum mechanics and, somewhat shockingly, his intense selfishness and personal regard. As a biographer, Isaacson reveals all of Einstein, and it is left to the reader (in this case, the adoring, hero-worshiping reader) to find mental and personal space to set aside Einstein's humanity and still be in awe of the incredible intellectual gift he gave the world.
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Marc Good review. I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of this book and was grateful for Isaacson's work in presenting Einstein, the whole human being.

Must we set aside his humanity to be in awe of his genius? For me, while I will never understand the math involved in special relativity, I will always remember that this earth shattering breakthrough occurred at what could arguably be a point in Einstein's life when he may have felt the lowest - a brilliant man filling out paperwork at a patent office!

Truth be told, Isaacson does not just point out his marital struggles and foibles, he also brings out a depth of concern for humanity as a whole that is often not highlighted, along with his strongly progressive social stances. And yet, I will also remember that this brilliant, great man who loved humanity in general, somehow could not ever really love the specific human people in his family, and held on to a deep dislike (even hatred) for his scientific rivals.

He deserves the hero-worship. I'm glad Isaacson's book helps us know the real man who is the hero.

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