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Albert Einstein: A Biography Paperback – May 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140237194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140237191
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This translation of a work published in Germany in 1993 provides a balanced and comprehensive treatment of Einstein's life from early childhood through his final years at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. It gives equal detail to his technical accomplishments and personal life, including his role as an international spokesman for Zionism and pacifism. It also includes a more honest picture of his relationships with women than earlier works, such as those by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (The Private Lives of Albert Einstein, LJ 6/1/94) or Michael White and John Gribbin (Einstein: A Life in Science, LJ 3/1/94). Although extremely detailed and heavily documented, this is a very readable book, perhaps owing to the author's background in the radio/television presentation of science information. His explanations are generally clear and complete. Folsing has done a commendable job of bringing all of these aspects of Einstein's life together and providing a well-balanced picture. Recommended.?Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

His name connotes incomparable genius even for those who cannot fathom his famed theory. Yet the man who unveiled the deepest secrets of the universe has himself long remained an enigma to his admirers. But now, in an exhaustively researched narrative, Folsing unravels the enigma as he depicts the surprising variety of figures who all fit within Einstein's life story: the hot-tempered little boy who threw a chair at his tutor; the talented violinist who thrilled Saturday-afternoon gatherings with his interpretations of Beethoven; the brokenhearted husband who wept at the Berlin train station as his marriage crumbled; the neophyte psychologist who dined with Jung and corresponded with Freud; the ardent pacifist who willingly performed tasks for the German war machine; the skeptic who rejected his ancestral religion yet risked his station and even his life by affirming his Jewishness; the aging revolutionary who fought against the young turks creating quantum physics. Folsing deserves high praise for allowing the nonspecialist to share the singular mental odyssey that culminated in Einstein's remarkable discoveries, especially the theory of relativity. But he deserves even higher praise for exposing the vulnerabilities and inadequacies that made Einstein, for all his genius, one of us--an oft-perplexed and frustrated human being. As long as readers care about Einstein's character as well as his formulas, this book will attract and deserve attention. Bryce Christensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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It's one of the most interessant books I have ever read.
Tomislav Zule (tomislav.zule@pu.t-com.hr)
Albert Einstein: A Biography, by Albrecht Folsing, is a comprehensive and very readable biography of the 20th century's greatest scientist.
F. M. Hart
First its length, 850 pages plus is not necessary and burdensome on the reader.
bowonwing

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on July 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the height of Einstein's career it was joked that only about a dozen people in the entire world actually understood the master's theory of relativity, which leads to the question of whether we mere mortals should even attempt this 882-page tome. The answer is a resounding yes. Albrecht Holsing never forgets that he is writing a biography, not a physics text. The result is a colorful biography of a learning disabled civil servant with perhaps the most fertile imagination in the history of science. Holsing's Einstein is a man without a country, an unabashed lover, an avowed pacifist, a born-again Zionist, bon vivant and alleged subversive. And yes, smart and eccentric as hell.
Between 1905 and 1920 Einstein, a patent claims inspector, produced a series of papers on the subject of physics so outlandish that the world collectively gasped. Put simply, Einstein postulated connections between dimensions that had been considered unbridgeable until his day. He was not a scientist in the way we traditionally think of the discipline. He was in reality a science fiction writer who challenged the white coats to prove he was wrong. Most of the time they could not, to their own amazement. And when they did, he seemed to delight even more. God, he remarked, may be mysterious, but never malevolent. For Einstein the universe was a playground.
Einstein enjoyed wonderful timing. By 1900 the telescope and the microscope had been perfected to the point that the bigness and the smallness of the natural world began crashing into the complacency of Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry. Einstein, whose own spacial-temporal development was delayed until early adulthood, began to play with possibilities. Is the universe so big that the traditional absolute theorems of geometry might be disproved?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kersi Von Zerububbel VINE VOICE on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the BEST biography of Einstein that I have read. The writing style is 'European' in that all dimensions of Einstein are explored and referenced. A strong point of this biography is the extensive research and documentation that backs up the text. Einstein's life in science AND out of it are explored thoroughly. My only quibble is that the quality of pictures in the text is shoddy. I have the Penguin edition. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you want a quick superficial biography try Banesh Hoffman's Einstein (still in print?). If you want a fairly good biography I recommend Denis Brian's Einstein. If you want a very precise and detail biography get this one and enjoy!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sugunan on March 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book very exasperating indeed. While it may be a good referance work, the non-specialist would find it very difficult to read full tilt like a novel. While detail can be a strength, in this book it overwhelms the reader: the writer simply MUST cite every letter Einstein wrote and every reply he received! It is a tedious exercise. The science is dry, clinical and extremely difficult to follow. The writing (translation?) is mediocre and the editing is even worse. Forget this book if you are looking for a passionate, clear, focused and above all a readable account of Einstein's life and thought. There must be better biographies around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bowonwing on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I consider Einstein to be the greatest scientist to have lived.
Folsing's biography of him is not the one you want to read.

First its length, 850 pages plus is not necessary and burdensome on the reader.
Then Folsing falls into what I call "The Einstein worship mode," not correctly presenting some "facts" contained in the book.

Start with the Foreword, page xi," "His (Einstein's) concepts of space and time, of the 'forth dimension,' and of a finite but unbounded universe in which light travels along a curved path, are regarded as revolutionary, comparable, in their effect on human understanding, only to those of Copernicus."
I agree with this statement except that it was not Einstein who came up with the core of these ideas, although Einstein did "develop" these ideas between 1907 and 1915. These ideas came from the B. Riemann, in his 1854 inaugural lecture, see p.72 "The Physicist's Conception of Nature," (1973), Jagdish Mehra, Ed., et. al. See also "non-euclidian geometry" and B. Riemann.

Then on page 392: "Basically, Einstein, in this paper, (1916), derived all the characteristics for the definition of the photon- ...".
"The term 'photon' for the Planck/Einstein light quantum was introduced by Gilbert Lewis in 1926. See "MacMillan Encyclopedia of Physics," (1996), Vol. 3, page 1185. Einstein did not even use the term "photon." Details perhaps, but to me important in a biography.

Here are some other Einstein biographies; Brain's, Pais' (both books), and Neffe's are recommended:

"Einstein- A life," by Denis Brain. This biography (1996) of Einstein is the one to read. It explains Einstein's nuisances, e.g.
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By W Michael Poff on July 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good product thanks.
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By Picky Buyer on October 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Doesn't give as much info about personal life of Einstein. that is what i was hoping to get. sorry a snooze otherwise
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Years ago I read a biography of Einstein by Clark, back in the seventies, and I thought I knew everything about this intellectual hero that I wanted to.

But Folsing really has fleshed out Albert for us. Not only a leftist and a paradoxical pacifist (as I'd already learned), but a devotee of Spinoza and a dreadfully active ladies' man.
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