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Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family 1st Edition, 1st Printing Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0230115712
ISBN-10: 0230115713
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Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family + Madame Curie: A Biography + Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie (Great Discoveries)
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Editorial Reviews


Emling offers an intimate look at Curie's relationship with her children…[and a] fascinating, moving story… [with an] inspiring message conveyed throughout. (Carmela Ciuraru, The Boston Globe)

The story of the second act of the genius's life, as a widowed mother of two. (Harpers)

Emling delivers a compulsively readable biography of Curie and her formidable daughters. (Ms. magazine)

The often harrowing tale covers the great physicist's struggle with xenophobia and sexism, her mental and physical breakdowns, and the campaign by American journalist Missy Meloney to supply her with radium. Most compellingly, it bares Curie's relationships with her daughters, the Nobel prize-winning chemist Irène and writer Eve. (Nature)

Emling reveals a hidden side of the life of two-time Nobel Prize winner. (Publishers Weekly)

An intimate portrait of the professional and private lives of legendary scientist Marie Curie and her daughters, Irène and Eve… A uniquely human look at a brilliant scientific family. (Kirkus Reviews)

A new twist...bringing the story into the 21st century...Recommended. (Choice)

Shelley Emling makes an invaluable contribution to history by documenting the afteraffects of radiation and fame on this remarkable pioneer of the atom, a woman who sacrificed herself for the sake of deadly knowledge. (Tom Zoellner, author of Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World)

Publicly glum and famously determined, Marie Curie struggled against the extraordinary prejudices of her time, and became an icon. In this engagingly delightful look behind the heavy skirts of the era, Shelley Emling reveals Marie's and her two disparate daughters' idiosyncratic family life, and especially the significant role that their visits to the United States played in their personal development. (Peter Atkins, author of Galileo's Finger)

Marie Curie and Her Daughters breathes life into an icon of science. Emling uses private letters, the unpublished papers of her daughter, Irene Curie, and an interview with her granddaughter Helene Langevin-Joliot to take the reader into Curie's role as the mother of two daughters, as a traveler to America and beyond, and as a woman in a man's world. If young women are looking for a real-life role model beside today's celebrities, this story will fill that niche. (Elizabeth Norman, author of We Band of Angels)

A book that should inspire all young women to go out and make things happen. (Frank Close, author of The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe)

Shelley Emling's dazzling chronicle of the three Curies and their world famous accomplishments is surpassed only by her account of how each stretched her era's concept of the possibilities for women. A tour de force! (Megan McKinney, author of The Magnificent Medills)

Ms. Emling's riveting new biography reveals in page-turning prose the life-balance struggles of a true genius. It's a tip of the hat to the private Marie, the single working mother, whose many accomplishments include her two amazing daughters. (Lisa Verge Higgins, New York Journal of Books)

Shelley Emling's excellent joint biography of Marie, her daughters (and a granddaughter, too) is an exhilarating story that couples scientific discovery and motherhood. A book that should propel young women into science for the sheer fun of it, it's also a rich tale of war and peace, family commitment, friendship and medical progress. (Adele Glimm, author of Gene Hunter and Rachel Carson)

A must read for every woman and every female teenager. In accessible prose, Emling enlightens the world about this enigmatic scientist, and, with the help of personal letters shared by Curie's granddaughter, Emling has woven a story of a woman full of grace and of the daughters who loved her without fail. I loved this book. (Mary H. Manhein, author of The Bone Lady and Trail of Bones)

About the Author

Shelley Emling has written for the The New York Times, USA Today, Fortune, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The Huffington Post,,, The Christian Science Monitor, and the International Herald Tribune. She launched one of the first blogs for The International Herald Tribune, called Raising the Roof. She is the author of the highly acclaimed The Fossil Hunter and lives in New Jersey.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230115713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230115712
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hailing from the Lone Star State, Shelley Emling studied journalism at the University of Texas in Austin before setting off to New Orleans to do the 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. reporting gig for UPI. And that was just the beginning of an ongoing effort to satisfy her wanderlust.

Indeed, in 1990, she left with $2,000 to her name for Guatemala, bound and determined to become a foreign correspondent. While there, she and her (then boyfriend) eloped and she wrote a book called Your Guide to Retiring to Mexico, Costa Rica and Beyond that was published in 1996.

Reporting from Central and South America for a whole host of publications was just the beginning!

Before becoming AOL's Montclair Patch editor in June 2010, Shelley was a London-based foreign correspondent for six years, covering everything from Prince William's love life to European politics. Previously she covered New York City before and after 9/11, the Caribbean and Latin America, and Atlanta -- all for the Cox Newspaper chain.

Shelley left London and moved to Montclair, New Jersey in 2009 with her husband and three energetic children.

After years of rejection letters, her much-acclaimed book, The Fossil Hunter, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in October 2009.

That led her to learn more about -- and write an awful lot about -- science and religion.

And it also led to the writing of Shelley's latest book Madame Curie and her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family to be published in August 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Like many readers interested in women and science, I knew little about pioneering scientist Marie Curie's life after the death of her husband, Pierre, and her first Nobel Prize.

This book fills a gap in public knowledge covering nearly three decades in Marie Curie's life after Pierre's death, including her subsequent tragic affair with a married fellow scientist that nearly cost her the career she had struggled to build, her second Nobel prize and her difficulties balancing her work and parenting two equally brilliant daughters, Irene and Eve.

The book also goes into detail about the interesting subsequent lives of Irene Curie-Joliot, a famous scientist in her own right and Eve, who became a well-known journalist. The book was written with the cooperation of Irene's daughter, who is also a scientist and gave the author access to Curie family correspondence that apparently was not previously available to the public.

The book is kind towards its subjects, but is truthful about their personal flaws as well as their strengths. Marie's near-nervous breakdown over her love affair and Irene's blindness about the dictatorial Communist regimes she admired astonished me and expanded my knowledge of the two women, whom I had previously viewed as passionless professionals.

Marie's and Irene's struggles to keep working, despite serious illnesses resulting from overexposure to radioactive substances they researched, was inspiring.

The author writes about science in a clear manner, and discussions of the Curies' work are balanced with fascinating details of their personal lives. This is definitely a book to give the married career woman in your life or a young female relative who is thinking of going into the sciences as a career.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert G Yokoyama VINE VOICE on May 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for both chemistry and physics. That is all I knew before I read this book. I am not a good science student. Shelley Emling succeeds in making scientific discovery interesting to read. I learned about the benefits and dangers of radium. Radium and simple Xray technology have used to treat cancer for almost a hundred years. Marie Curie's passion for the development of radium and the treatment of cancer is a strong theme in this book. Radium is also highly radioactive. Long term exposure to radium can cause health problems like hearing loss, low blood pressure and vision problems. I did not know how much effort went into mining for radium. I learned that one ounce of radium cost $50,000 in 1921. Radium could also be found in products like cigarettes and chocolate. There are numerous schools and treatment centers in France, Poland and New York that bear Marie Curie's name. I also learned that Marie Curie enjoyed reading poetry. Emiling cites a poem entitled "To The Young" by Adam Asnyk. This is a very inspirational poem about the hunger and quest to keep learning. I like this poem very much.

I did not know that Marie had two daughters.They were successful in their respective careers as well. This is because of Marie's support and encouragement. Irene, her eldest daughter, developed an injection that is now used to treat leukeimia. Irene also discovered artificial radioactivity. Her work has helped doctors locate the flow of blood and nutrients into different organs in the body. Marie also had another daughter named Eve. She wrote a biography of her mother that became an Academy nominated film in 1943. Eve is also credited as being the first lady of United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ursiform VINE VOICE on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a child I read Eve Currie's biography of her mother, "Madam Curie". (Actually, I read my mother's Reader's Digest Condensed Books version.) With my interest in science I was captivated by the woman who discovered radium and polonium, saved lives on the battlefields of WWI, and won two Nobel Prizes.

This book has a different focus, and a less reverential tone. Marie's early work with Pierre is only passingly referred to. The book opens in 1911, and really gets going with Marie, and teenaged daughter Irene, caught up in battlefield medicine during the First World War. After the war France was impoverished, and Marie struggled to find radium for her institute. At this point Missy Meloney, American journalist and organizer, enters the Curie world. In 1921 she brings Madam Curie and daughters Irene and Eve to America for a tour. Marie not only gets her radium, but finds she is a star in America. In France she couldn't even gain admission to the Academy of Sciences, two Noble Prizes not being enough to compensate for her being a woman. (Many years later Irene, with a Nobel of her own, was likewise rejected. Author Emling notes that at least they were consistent.)

Emling follows the three Curies forward through the rest of Marie's life and through the lives of Irene and Eve. Meloney remains a key player, often helping one Curie or another.

Marie remains an indefatigable and dedicated scientist to the endt. She defends her radium and her institute; after her death, the Radium Institute was fittingly renamed the Curie Institute.

Irene inherited her mother's scientific aptitude and drive. With husband Frederic she was the first to induce radioactivity in non-radioactive materials. They also nearly became the first to observe nuclear fission.
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