Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Einstein: His Life and Universe

Einstein: His Life and Universe Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Between the way Isaacson puts together the story of the life and Edward Hermann's reading of it, this was a wonderful listen. I do think it might have been better to read--the science was hard to follow on the audio at times. Reading those sections would have helped. That said Hermann is so fantastic at bringing the words alive, that I felt like I got to know Einstein. I even shed tears when he died. Isaacson does a great job with balancing the human being with the icon: I feel like I got a good picture of who Einstein was and how he approached life. I have always respected and admired him (who doesn't?) but I do so even more -- warts and all. Einstein's independence and individuality shine through; his love of and willingness to fight for individual freedom is sincere and deep (I wish he would he have seen that such freedom is just as important in the economic as the scientific sphere, but no one is perfect and given the time period I don't fault him to much there).

I was fascinated by his early interest in Judaism and then how that faded but then returned in a fashion later in life. His battles with antisemitism both in Europe and the US were intriguing. The FBI under Hoover was disgrace in the way they treated Einstein.

All in all, I recommend this highly, though I think reading it rather than listening might be better.

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