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Acclaimed biographer Isaacson examines the remarkable life of "science's preeminent poster boy" in this lucid account (after 2003's Benjamin Franklin and 1992's Kissinger). Contrary to popular myth, the German-Jewish schoolboy Albert Einstein not only excelled in math, he mastered calculus before he was 15. Young Albert's dislike for rote learning, however, led him to compare his teachers to "drill sergeants." That antipathy was symptomatic of Einstein's love of individual and intellectual freedom, beliefs the author revisits as he relates his subject's life and work in the context of world and political events that shaped both, from WWI and II and their aftermath through the Cold War. Isaacson presents Einstein's research—his efforts to understand space and time, resulting in four extraordinary papers in 1905 that introduced the world to special relativity, and his later work on unified field theory—without equations and for the general reader. Isaacson focuses more on Einstein the man: charismatic and passionate, often careless about personal affairs; outspoken and unapologetic about his belief that no one should have to give up personal freedoms to support a state. Fifty years after his death, Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (1879–1955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. 500,000 firsr printing, 20-city author tour, first serial to Time; confirmed appearance on Good Morning America. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* Isaacson--formerly the managing editor at Time magazine and head of CNN, currently CEO of the Aspen Institute--has written acclaimed biographies of Henry Kissinger and Benjamin Franklin. In his penetrating and magnificently nuanced biography of Albert Einstein, Isaacson elucidates Einstein's nonconformist and philosophical temperament and the particular nature of his genius within a richly textured social context, and he precisely explains Einstein's "astonishing, mysterious, and counterintuitive" scientific achievements and their epic consequences. Isaacson explores Einstein's valiant advocacy for peace and justice in view of the genocidal anti-Semitism that drove him from Germany and revels in Einstein's pithy humor and role as scientific superstar. Isaacson tells in full the anguished tale of Einstein's disastrous marriage to Mileva Mari? and his appalling missteps as a father, the private failings of a public humanist. But what distinguishes this extraordinarily encompassing and profoundly affecting biography most are Isaacson's empathic insights into painful paradoxes. Einstein believed in an ordered universe of "harmony and beauty," yet his discoveries revealed uncertainty, randomness, and chance. Einstein spent the second half of his life not only attempting to refute his own revolutionary findings but also witnessing the creation of potentially apocalyptic weapons that harnessed the diabolical powers he unveiled. Donna Seaman
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I enjoyed it all along.I really appreaciated the man.If there ever was a Genius he was the one.But I became quickly disappointed when I found out he was a convinced atheist. Read morePublished 9 months ago by thorncrust