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Einstein: A Biography


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Table of Contents

Translator's PrefacePrologue: The Immortal: Einstein's Secret1. His Second Birth: The Fateful Year 19192. How Albert Became Einstein: The Psychological Makeup of a Genius3. "A New Era!": From Industrialist's Son to Inventor4. Of Dwarfs and Giants: A Brief History of Science, According to Einstein5. The Burden of Inheritance: Einstein Detectives in Action6. "Elsa or Ilse": The Physicist and the Women7. The Miraculous Path to the Miraculous Year: Einstein's Angels8. Squaring the Light: Why Einstein Had to Discover the Theory of Relativity9. Why Is the Sky Blue? Einstein-A Career10. "Dear Boys... Your Papa": The Drama of the Brilliant Father11. Anatomy of a Discovery: How Einstein Found the General Theory of Relativity12. Lambda Lives: Einstein, "Chief Engineer of the Universe"13. Spacetime Quakes: The Theory of Relativity Put to the Test14. His Best Foe: Einstein, Germany, and Politics15. "I Am Not a Tiger": Einstein, the Human Side16. A Jew Named Albert: His God Was a Principle17. The End Justifies the Doubts: Einstein and Quantum Theory18. Of the Magnitude of Failure: The Quest for the Unified Theory19. From Barbaria to Dollaria: Einstein's America20. "People Are a Bad Invention": Einstein, the Atomic Bomb, McCarthy, and the EndNotesBibliographyAcknowledgmentsIndex

About the Author

Jurgen Neffe holds a doctorate in biochemistry from Aachen University and is a recipient of the Egon Erwin Kisch Award, the most prestigious award for print journalism in Germany.


An award-winning German journalist relies on newly unearthed letters and documents to examine the life and times of the man who gave us E=mc2. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Rarely has a single individual been so farsighted and myopic at the same time, Neffe observes, setting off to illuminate the truth behind the legend of Albert Einstein. This expanded version of Neffe's acclaimed biography first published in Germany in 2005 takes advantage of newly discovered documents, including the diaries of Einstein's Berlin physician, J nos Plesch, and letters from Einstein to his first wife, Mileva, and his sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. The biography is structured topically, with chapters devoted to Einstein's childhood and early schooling, his friendships, his physics research and how politics affected his work. Neffe repeatedly cites Einstein's dual nature: intelligent and serious, while simultaneously childlike and cheerful; a man whose theory of relativity changed the way we see the universe, yet who professed a decided ambivalence for the modern art and music influenced by his discoveries. Coupling insights into Einstein's character with clear descriptions of the physicist's groundbreaking research, Neffe creates a fascinating portrait of this egocentric loner with a sense of responsibility for all mankind, one of the most intriguing figures of the 20th century. While Walter Isaacson's new biography is bound to be the big seller, Neffe is more straightforward on Einstein's less appealing traits: the misogynist, the curmudgeon, the passive-aggressive father. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

[Einstein's] are some of the most powerful ideas in all of science... Neffe does an especially thorough job tracing their origins in Einstein's early obsessions, and he shows how completely the latest cosmic theories are constructed atop the general theory of relativity. * New York Times Book Review *
You would never know you were reading a translation. Converted into evocative, idiomatic English by Shelley Frisch, the book abandons the traditional chronological framework to make oblique swipes across Einstein's timeline-like those bullets flying through a train. * Los Angeles Times *
Coupling insights into Einstein's character with clear descriptions of the physicist's groundbreaking research, Neffe creates a fascinating portrait of... one of the most intriguing figures of the 20th century. * Publishers Weekly *
Neffe's biography reads more like an American novel. The language is fresh and lively-a nod to Neffe's English translator, Shelley Frisch. * San Diego Union-Tribune *
A comprehensive, sympathetic, and very readable portrait of the man, the celebrity, the scientist, and the theories that transformed physics and the modern world... Stellar research and prose combine in a splendid biography of physics' most luminous supernova. * Kirkus Reviews (starred review) *

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