the other einstein book review
Albert Einstein is world famous for his ground-breaking physics theories but did you know that his first wife was also a brilliant physicist? Indeed, Mileva Maric, one of the first women to ever be accepted into a physics degree program, is thought to be an unsung hero of Einstein’s journey into scientific history.
Marie Benedict, using letters from Mileva and Albert as well as their acquaintances, crafts the fictional story of their early love, their work, and the sting of the spotlight that leads to their divorce.
As a huge fan of historical fiction, The Other Einstein was a book that intrigued me from the start. As a women of science, Mileva’s story hit home for me. Over two hundred years later, the ratio of male to females in science degree programs is still woefully out of balance. I experienced this first hand in my undergraduate education where only 25% of the student body was female.
What I couldn’t relate to was Mileva’s acceptance of her situation. Mileva’s contributions to Einstein’s early theories are a subject of great debate in the world of Physics. While this work is based on historical figures, it is a work of fiction. That being said, I have never wanted to reach into the pages of a book so badly in my life. I wanted to reach right in, grab Mileva by the shoulders, and shake her for putting up with Albert’s sexist, misogynist behavior.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book - Mileva’s time at university, her and Albert’s early romance, and the representation of their school work and life in Zurich. However, as the book progressed, I became more and more frustrated with her loss of strength and inability to stand up to Albert’s behavior.
In the end, I think this book was okay. If you love historical fiction and physics, you will probably enjoy many aspects of this book*.
However, I would recommend picking up The Girl You Left Behind, which I reviewed here, instead!
What have you been reading lately?
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