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The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie…

The Other Einstein: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Marie Benedict (Author)

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5266128,871 (3.6)21
Title:The Other Einstein: A Novel
Authors:Marie Benedict (Author)
Info:Sourcebooks Landmark (2017), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Historical, Nonfiction, Paper Back, Your library, To read, Read Soon
Tags:Historical, Non-fiction, Science, Physics, Scientists, Switzerland, Albert Einstein

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The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict



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As a young man, well before he moved to the United States in 1940, Albert Einstein was married to a woman whose intelligence rivaled his own, and who was quite possibly a collaborator on his infamous 1905 paper on special relativity. After researching the couple through many books, articles, and personal letters, author Marie Benedict presents here a fictionalized account of the life of Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein's first wife, which will completely change the way you think about Einstein himself.

The writing came across as somewhat heavy-handed, and at times I found myself wishing it were a bit more subtle or nuanced. Her story has just recently been made into a National Geographic production, but I have to admit I was unaware of Mileva's existence prior to hearing about this book. It's satisfying that she's receiving some well-deserved attention, albeit via a work of fiction, but at the same time I'm disappointed that I feel so disillusioned now about Albert Einstein as a human being. I selected this title as a facilitator of a senior book group and, interestingly, learned that it was not news to the women of previous generations that Einstein was a well-known philanderer. I myself have considerable difficulty conjuring up an image of this wild-haired cultural icon as a flirtatious young man. ( )
  ryner | Mar 26, 2019 |
This book tells the story of the wife of the famed scientist, Albert Einstein. It’s historical fiction, the epilogue from the author attempts to clarify what is fact and what is fiction, but the general feeling I got was it was speculative for the most part. Yes, Einstein’s first wife was a physicist and she could have had a role in developing many of his most famous theories and papers, which makes for an interesting story idea.
Instead the first half or more of the book is very slow leading up to their marriage, and the second half just paints the famed Albert Einstein as a flaky, misogynistic jerk who essentially goes from being scientific equals with his wife to controlling her and stripping her of any intellectual standing or partnership, she exists only to tend to his house and kids.
Maybe this is truly the relationship they had, but it seemed such a stark and sudden shift in their relationship, perhaps it was embellishes to create tension for the book. I don’t really know how I feel about the book as a whole, I found it slow and a bit long, and since little is known about what truly transpired in their marriage and scientific partnership, it’s up to the author to fill in the blanks with a fictional tale.
I like the idea of this book but I don’t think historical fiction is really my cup of tea, I prefer books to be either entirely fiction or entirely non-fiction, not some of both.
(Full disclosure, I’ve never read a biography of either Einstein and my knowledge is based on what you learn in high school, that he’s a famous physicist and former patent clerk whose contributions to science are still essential today. I know nothing of his personal life or marriage so I can’t compare this book to any other factual accounts of his life.)
3/5 stars ⭐️ ( )
  justjoshinreads | Mar 22, 2019 |
Author Marie Benedict tells the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein's first wife. Most people would not recognize her name, despite the fact that she was a brilliant mathematician and scientist in her own right, and was married to him and was the mother of his 3 children. This story, though fictionalized, is the story of another woman lost to history, swept up by events of the time, out of her control. I appreciated the author notes at the end, telling how she herself had never heard of Mileva until her son was doing a project where her name came up, and how she chose to write her story as a fiction so that she could flesh out what was known and imagine the *between the lines* aspects of her life based on the facts that are known. I liked how Benedict listed her sources and the research she did, and recommended several further readings to learn more about Mileva, including websites.

And by the way, Einstein was not a very nice man. Not at all. ( )
  jessibud2 | Feb 12, 2019 |
Really very good; I was surprised. The author says she had no extraordinary interest in or knowledge of Einstein before she started research for the book, & perhaps that's what makes it so readable. She definitely portrays him not particularly as a scientist, or a genius, but as a man,& she does it well. He was an asshole, plain & simple, the kind of asshole men could be at the early years of the 20th century. So, authoritarian pride mixed with self-doubt & total support in that by the norms of the day. -- Now what I want is for her to do a book on his 2nd wife. Maybe & the rest of his life. -- Really a fascinating read I wouldn't have picked up if I weren't so enamored of reading Benedict’s upcoming book on Hedy LaMarr, but am so glad I did. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | Feb 7, 2019 |
Raw portrayal of grief and triumph in life choices

Absorbing story of a brilliant woman scientist Mileva (Mitza) Einstein, Albert Einstein’s first wife. I loved how the story structure is divided into three parts. Each begins with one of Newton’s laws of motion to describe the movement of the protagonist Mitza -- caught between the drive to use her own talents to a desire for partnership with her husband to final steps of independence. The historical backdrop is fascinating with its mix of famous scientists, the Nobel Prizes, Einstein’s career from nobody to somebody, anti-Semitism, prejudice against Eastern Europeans, traditional expectations for women and more. The narrative is touching and personal. I found myself returning to the prologue again and again, until finally the epilogue brought tears to my eyes. Excellent portrayal of the spirit of a forgotten woman – thank you to Marie Benedict for giving her a voice. Repost of review at goodreads.com ( )
  Joansf | Jan 31, 2019 |
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For Jim, Jack, and Ben
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August 4, 1948 62 Huttenstrasse Zurich, Switzerland The end is near.
Loneliness outweighed any incandescence of thought brought about by Lenard's kinetic theory of gases and his experiments on the speed at which oxygen molecules travel.
In her usual shrewd way, Helene laid her finger on the source of my unease. My ill mood did not emanate solely from the fog or even my loneliness but on the burden that this term away might place upon my career path.
Like a deck of cards, he spread the rejection letters out across the cafe table.
She looked me up and down, sizing me up as dispassionately as Mama would assess a side of beef at the market, and said, "Your father is proud of you, Mrs. Einstein. A physics degree, a successful husband, and a nice life in Switzerland. What father wouldn't be proud?"
The train car, although brimming with our belongings and ornately decorated in red velvet, felt strangely empty. Was something missing? Our trunks and luggage were stored safely in our racks over our heads, and our handbags and backpacks sat nearby on the benches. It couldn't be the absence of Albert; the boys and I had grown accustomed to traveling without him, to living without him, really. What was the source of this sensation then? Could the missing something be Lieserl? No, she was here with me, the guiding shadow in my life, absent yet somehow always present. Perhaps the something unaccounted for was the old self I was leaving behind. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like Mitza again.
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Marie Benedict is a pseudonym of: Heather Terrell
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The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.… (more)

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