Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson – A Review

December 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

Title: Einstein: His Life and Universe

Author: Walter Isaacson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography, Science

Length: 675 pgs.

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Albert Einstein was a prick.  Not the description you were expecting?  Me neither.  We always hear about how brilliant he was, how much he changed humanity and the world of science with his great theories.  We always see images of his goofy, yet charmingly wild smile and hair.  We don’t see him through the eyes of the family he abandoned.

Isaacson is thorough in his research and the language of his biography of Einstein is easy and accessible.  He sheds a lot of light on physics formulas that I had a hard time grasping in my high school science classes.  But he also sheds a lot of light on Einstein the not-so-family man.

Not only did he and his wife abandon their first child, a girl who history has nearly erased,

“[Hans Albert, Einstein’s son] had powerfully conflicted attitudes towards his father.  That was no surprise.  Einstein was intense and compelling and at times charismatic.  He was also aloof and distracted and had distanced himself, physically and emotionally, from the boy, who was guarded by a doting mother who felt humiliated.”

Einstein eventually divorced his wife, but not before maintaining an emotional affair with his cousin Elsa.  “Companionship without commitment suited him just fine,” Isaacson writes about how Einstein toyed with both women’s heartstrings by alternating his attentions between them.  In the end Einstein and Elsa did marry, but not before a questionable letter was written by Elsa’s daughter to a friend that mentioned Einstein’s true love interest was the twenty year old daughter, not the mother.

Isaacson’s presentation of Einstein is a great book for high school science and history students.  Anyone trying to understand the genius’s formulas should also understand the history surrounding their creation/discovery.  His life is also one to discuss with your teen touchy topics of worldview and the importance of values; world changing discovery vs. the importance of family, political and religious affiliations and observations.  Each family’s opinion of Einstein’s life will most likely be different, and its one that should be surveyed and critically analyzed.

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7 Comments

  1. Mary said,

    I agree that even though Albert Einstein was a genius, he had abandoned his family, and mainly focused on his career. I read some books written about Elbert Einstein and found it really interesting.

  2. Interested said,

    I have never taken the time to read much about the man, only the work. You have peaked my interest.

  3. Kelley Romar said,

    Regards for helping out, good info .

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