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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain Paperback – June 5, 2001

4.1 out of 5 stars 413 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Driving Mr. Albert chronicles the adventures of an unlikely threesome--a freelance writer, an elderly pathologist, and Albert Einstein's brain--on a cross-country expedition intended to set the story of this specimen-cum-relic straight once and for all.

After Thomas Harvey performed Einstein's autopsy in 1955, he made off with the key body part. His claims that he was studying the specimen and would publish his findings never bore fruit, and the doctor fell from grace. The brain, though, became the subject of many an urban legend, and Harvey was transformed into a modern Robin Hood, having snatched neurological riches from the establishment and distributed them piecemeal to the curious and the faithful around the world.

The brain itself has seen better days, its chicken-colored chunks floating in a smelly, yellow, formaldehyde broth, yet its beatific presence in the book, riding serenely in the trunk of a Buick Skylark, encased in Tupperware, reflects the uncertainty of Einstein's life. Was he a sinner or a saint, a genius or just lucky? Harvey guards the brain as if it were his own. From time to time, he has given favored specialists a slice or two to analyze, but the results have been mixed. Physiologically, Einstein's brain may have been no different from anyone else's, but plenty of people would like the brain to be more than it is, including Paterniti:

I want to touch the brain. Yes, I've admitted it. I want to hold it, coddle it, measure its weight in my palm, handle some of its fifteen billion now-dormant neurons. Does it feel like tofu, sea urchin, bologna? What, exactly? And what does such a desire make me? One of a legion of relic freaks? Or something worse?

Traversing America with Harvey and his sacred specimen, Paterniti seems to be awaiting enlightenment, much as Einstein did in his last days. But just as the great scientist failed to come up with a unifying theory, Paterniti's chronicle dissolves at times into overly sincere efforts to find importance where there may be none, and it walks a fine line between postmodern detachment and wide-eyed wonderment. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the book offers an engrossing portrait of postatomic America from what may be the ultimate late-20th-century road trip. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Driving a Buick Skylark across the country with an addled octogenarian and an organ may not seem like the ripest material for a story, even if the organ is Albert Einstein's brain. In the hands of a stylish writer like Paterniti, however, the journey becomes a transcendent and hilarious exploration of heady themes like obsession, love and science. In 1955, the octogenarian, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey, removed Einstein's brain during an autopsy and, claiming he wished to study it further, took it home. In the years that followed, he sliced and shipped the brain around the world, but never relinquished most of the organ. Nor, to the criticism of colleagues, did he release his long-promised study. Forty-two years later, Harvey was finally ready to return the brain to Evelyn Einstein, Albert's granddaughter. He enlisted Paterniti, a freelance writer living in Maine, for the task. What ensues is a rare road story that gives equal weight to journey and destination. An expansion of an article published in Harper's magazine, this road-tale bears the classic elements of a spiritual questDthe brain a classic example of a character stand-in. But Paterniti so seamlessly weaves his stream-of-consciousness musings about everything from the theory of relativity to his own sputtering relationship with Harvey that the book becomes much more. Readers will hear echoes from American cultural historyDthe wanderlust of the Beats, the literary texture of Hemingway and the pastel-tinted surrealism of the Simpsons. It's impossible to put this book down. Paterniti has written a work at once entertaining, psychologically rich and emotionally sophisticatedDa feat as rare as, well, Einstein himself. Agent, Sloan Harris. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press (June 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038533303X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333030
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (413 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read this book in a single day, laughing out loud every few pages and ignoring incoming phonecalls, visitors, and mealtimes along the way--whatever might come between me and Driving Mr. Albert. It's a quirky, sweet, smart, and sometimes sad tale built on the backs of three great characters--Michael Paterniti, Dr. Harvey, and Einstein's brain. The writing is stunning straight through, Paterniti's reflections on life and love belong in Bartlett's, and the mad trio's visits to Los Alamos, Vegas, and William S. Burroughs poise this book as the 21st century version of On The Road. A thrilling, fun read... I can't recommend it more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love to read this book again and again. It is light and yet absorbing, fast paced and yet it gets to the root of your emotions.

We are introduced to the main character, Davy Rice, as a young boy, escaping an abusive father. This is where the story starts because it is also the first time he experiences a Jump. Not that he believes it at first but this young lad has the ability to teleport.

OK, I know what you are thinking. That this is a tired old theme, already used to death in Sci-Fi. Well you are wrong. Steven Gould, has taken a refreshing look at this subject and deals with it in a realistic way. Davy, as a character, is very easy to understand and empathize with and for this reason we truly believe what is happening to him.

Before he can safely live a life away from his Father, Davy must get some cash, establish an identity, rent an apartment and all the things which you and I take for granted. This is made fascinating because he is a minor and has that special skill that no one is aware of. To complicate his life, Davy starts to fall for an older woman. A college girl who Davy impresses with his knowledge of the city and obvious wealth. Add to this the fact that his long lost Mother reenters the picture and Davy has a pretty full life.

This is just where the adventure begins. His mother becomes embroiled in a plane highjacking but Davy's efforts to involve himself are threatened by a police officer who is curious about his wealthy life style and questionable ID. The pace moves up to a higher level as Davy falls into international intrigue and ruthless terrorism.

This novel is a terrific first outing from Gould and I would recommend it to anyone who still has a little adventure left in their soul.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's good to see this book back in print after being unavailable for a long time. Perhaps it is a sign that Steven Gould is finally getting the recognition he deserves as a writer. Jumper was a great book, and Gould's next few books were not marketed as widely as a writer of his calibre should be. Despite looking for something new from him every month or so at the local Borders book store, I never even knew about his third and fourth books until his fifth came out recently.

Jumper was his first, and it was given to me by a friend who knew I was hard to please in my reading preferences. I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read. As you can read in the synopsis, the main character, Davey, gains the ability to teleport. But unlike many writers who would focus the story on how and why he developed this ability, Gould instead writes about how an intelligent but not-quite-mature teenager might react to having this new ability. The actual science of it is never explained, but that doesn't detract from the story. The story is not about the ability. It's about the young man who has the ability.

Davey's reactions to suddenly finding himself with this ability are far more human than the urge to find out why. Unable to figure out why, he instead focuses on what to do with it. The early part is filled with self-serving trips to acquire stuff, and through the course of the story, Davey realizes that even these seemingly harmless actions have consequences. Some of the complications that arise later in the story are a direct result of his early endeavors with teleportation.

But Gould does not center the entire story on Davey's power. Life goes on, and the world around Davey proceeds apace even as he experiments.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know where to begin . . . a spectacular journey across America and through the mind and heart of a redoubtable writer with a singular voice and vision, and with two of the most unique characters as mates - Einstein as you have never known him before, hovering like a giant sun over the passengers carrying his brain, and Dr. Harvey, an eccentric, enigmatic real life Frank J. Parnell ("Ever heard of the neutron bomb?"). I heard about this book on The Connection on NPR and immediately went out, bought it, and read it in two nights. It was far better than I even expected. The juxtaposition of Einstein's lack of intimacy and personal relationships with the writer's own need for it, and fear of leaving it behind, permanently, as he drives down America's highways with an octagenerian and a genius's brain in the trunk. The details of Einstein's life that provide a picture of Einstein as person and demigod. The trip itself, including a quintessentially William S. Burroughs moment with Mr. Burroughs himself. Truly engrossing reading. Once in a great while, a book like this comes out and redeems my faith that authentic, fresh storytelling as artform is alive and well. Brain jam through the latest great american road trip. I can't reccommend it enough.
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