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The Other Einstein: A Novel Hardcover – October 18, 2016
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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"Beautifully written...a finely drawn portrait of a woman in love with the wrong man." - Jillian Cantor, author of Margot and The Hours Count
"A crusading scientist undone by love....revealing, enlightening." - Nuala O'Connor, author of Miss Emily
"In her compelling novel... Benedict makes a strong case that the brilliant woman behind [Albert Einstein] was integral to his success, and creates a rich historical portrait in the process." - Publishers Weekly
"Benedict's debut novel carefully traces Mileva's life-from studious schoolgirl to bereaved mother-with attention paid to the conflicts between personal goals and social conventions. An intriguing... reimagining of one of the strongest intellectual partnerships of the 19th century." - Kirkus
"Many will enjoy Benedict's feminist views and be fascinated by the life of an almost unknown woman." - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"...INTIMATE and IMMERSIVE historical novel....Prepare to be moved by this provocative history of a woman whose experiences will resonate with today's readers." " - Library Journal, Editors' Fall Picks
"The Other Einstein takes you into Mileva's heart, mind, and study as she tries to forge a place for herself in a scientific world dominated by men. " - Bustle
"...an ENGAGING and THOUGHT PROVOKING fictional telling of the poignant story of an overshadowed woman scientist." - Booklist
"Superb...the haunting story of Einstein's brilliant first wife who was lost in his shadow.
" - Sue Monk Kidd, NYT bestselling author of The Invention of Wings, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair
About the Author
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies.
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Top customer reviews
"The Other Einstein" is Marie Benedict's fictional portrayal of the relationship between Mitza and Albert. At first, the two valued and admired one another; Mitza especially enjoyed the high-level intellectual discussions she had with Albert and his inner circle. Unfortunately, many obstacles kept the pair apart, including Albert's inability to find steady employment; parental disapproval; and Albert's self-centeredness and reluctance to make a commitment. The story is told from Mitza's perspective, and most readers will identify with the heroine's anguish at having been teased by classmates because of her pronounced limp; her desire to please her father, who pushed her to study for an advanced physics degree; and, when Albert ultimately convinced her to put him first, her frustration at sacrificing her own fulfillment to further her husband's ambitions.
Although Benedict bases this poignant novel on extensive research, she admits that her narrative is largely speculative; it is NOT history or biography. Still, the author effectively recreates the atmosphere in Switzerland, Serbia, and Germany during the late 1800s and early 1900s—a time of class-consciousness and snobbery; sexism; anti-Semitism; strict standards regarding proper behavior between courting couples; and exciting breakthroughs in various disciplines. Mitza's plight infuriates us, not just because she may have been denied credit for her ideas, but also because she tried, in vain, to be a proper wife to an egotistical and childlike husband. "The Other Einstein" is a heartrending account of a brilliant woman who wanted to do her duty, but instead sacrificed her soul.
A deformed hip let Mileva pursue an education in a man’s field–physics right at the dawn of the 20th Century. In her cohort was the young Albert Einstein who takes an interest in Mileva from the get-go. While Mileva has made a pact with other girls to pursue science and live the life of a professional, Einstein continues his efforts to ingratiate himself. As feelings ripen, Mileva takes the BFF pact with the girls very seriously and flees to another University. When she gives up and returns to Switzerland, the girls and Einstein love finally triumphs. Until it doesn’t. She should have trusted her gut reactions. But, woman believe what the want in any day and age. (Been there myself, got the t-shirt and the divorce). Idealistic, sheltered. Sadly it often adds up to gullible and manipulable.
Since time began men have used smart women to advance their careers. In the early 20th Century it was considered a good move to marry the boss’s daughter or similar. After all, marriage made them “one.” Many a woman has contributed far, far more than we’ll ever know to a famous man’s career. Remember Harry Truman’s saying? “Behind every successful man is a proud wife and a surprised mother-in-law.” But in Albert Einstein’s early career it was an outraged wife and a surprised mother-in-law. But that outraged wife was savvy–way savvier than her using rat of a hubby.
This book is well written and believable. The author gives a full account of what is fact and what is fiction which helps. But even acknowledging that Mileva was very, very well educated and therefore would have come into contact with progressive views on women-probably even going so far as to read the early feminists. Add that Albert made the so-called Bohemian life seem so romantic (hardly the first time a man’s pulled that ruse, either be it a lifestyle on the extreme left or the extreme right), I found some of her outrage a bit too 21st Century. While, I doubt another woman was duped to the point of a Nobel Prize, I just think at that time and place she’d have gone on accepting the lies. The pleasant surprise was how she negotiated the end. Brilliant move.
But, did she really clearly see that Berlin saw East Europeans so badly then? Antisemitism was clearly present in Kaiser Wilhelm II’s reign and in his court, but the East European discrimination, I’m not sure. Finally, I found it very odd that she didn’t have at least a maid of all work.
In the end I did not like Milvena-she was full of herself. But if I disliked her, I loathed Albert Einstein.