Mar 2, 2017

Review: The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein, an historical novel by Marie Benedict, October 18, 2016.

Einstein's first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić was a brilliant physicist in her own right and may have contributed to his theory on relativity.

Book beginning:
October 20, 1986
Zurich, Switzerland
I smoothed the wrinkles on my freshly pressed white blouse, flattened the bow encircling my collar, and tucked back a stray hair into my tightly wound chignon. The humid walk through the foggy Zurich streets to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Campus played with my careful grooming. The stubborn refusal of my heavy, dark hair to stay fixed in place frustrated me. I wanted every detail of the day to be perfect.

Page 56:
On the evening of his first visit, Helene greeted him with a disgruntled, "Who simply appears on a classmate's doorstep uninvited?"

My comments: The novel is fiction and speculative when it comes to the amount of collaboration Einstein and his wife Mileva may have had in the first four paper he wrote in 1905, including the theory of relativity. Mileva was a physicist in her own right, and a mathematician. But now, there are historians and authors who are looking into how much Mileva did contribute to Einstein's work.

The author has done extensive research on the Einsteins, their meeting at university where Mileva was the only female in Einstein's physics class, his intense courtship of her, their marriage, their moving from one European university to the other during Einsteins rise to the top as a physicist and professor.

Readers might not want to believe that Einstein was at any time selfish with the praise for his research and dismissive of his wife, with whom he had close collaboration in their studies while there were university students, and who could have had serious input into his discoveries. Mileva is shown as gradually being marginalized by Einstein and relegated to simple housewife for him and their two children, this after she had lost her scientific career after an unplanned pregnancy while they were students forced her to give up school and her cherished dream of academics.

Historically, the marriage broke up close to the height of Einstein's career. Part of the divorce agreement was that Mileva would get the proceeds from any Nobel Prize coming from Einstein's work in the future. It's hard to believe he would agree to give that up unless his wife had very well contributed to his work, though unacknowledged and unrecognized.

Recommendation: A fascinating history of the facts of the Einsteins' lives, their marriage, his success, and an intriguing guess at what might have been different for her and for women scientists that came after, if his first wife Mileva had been recognized, even in a footnote, in any of the papers Einstein published in 1905.
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Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader. 
 

17 comments:

  1. A perfect choice for Women's History month!

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  2. Wow, this sounds amazing, and so worth a read. Thanks for sharing. Today I'm looking at an oldie - 1984 by George Orwell.

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  3. Harvee, this story sounds very interesting, and plausible! I had not heard of this theory (pun intended) before.

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  4. This sounds like an interesting book.

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  5. I like the current trend to include little known women characters in books. Know that some parts are fictionalized, but it's still important that we know about these women. Who has ever even thought about Einstein's wife at all? I know I haven't. Sadly.

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  6. Oh, I like the sound of this one! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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  7. I don't know much about Albert Einstein or any of his wives - this sounds like a really interesting book - here's my Friday meme

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  8. I've learned more about Einstein from you post than I knew before. Thanks for sharing with us! I'd love for you and your readers to check out my BB and 56 . . . http://tinyurl.com/LisaKsBookReviewsRTD

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  9. Sounds interesting. It is not the sort of book I usually choose though. This week I am featuring Justice Calling by Annie Bellet. Happy reading!

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  10. Sounds fascinating, especially since the author did extensive research and much of the story is based on fact.
    My Friday post features The Other Daughter.

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  11. I've read this one! Also enjoyed the well-researched history. Good read.

    Wishing you a great weekend! Here's my Friday Meets: http://marelithalkink.blogspot.co.za/2017/03/friday-meets-03-march-2017.html

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  12. Sounds like a great read! Happy weekend!

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  13. This looks really interesting. Thanks for posting on BBOF!

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  14. This could be good. I like that excerpt. Can almost hear the "harumph!" LOL

    My Friday 56 from Odds and Ends

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