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The Other Einstein: A Novel Hardcover – October 18, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn 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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"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.
When Mileva falls for the persistent Einstein, she is taken in by his affable charm, but he does show his selfish side fairly quickly especially when their daughter becomes gravely ill. It really seems as if he cares about no one except himself never meeting his own daughter and only caring about when Mileva will return to take care of him.
Once she returns to him and throws her feelings of sorrow into science, they jointly write many journal articles and theories together with her writing the Theory of Relativity practically alone. Once again, he shows his shelfishness by asking for her name to be removed form all work when he submits it to publishers. But yet he constantly refers to her as "only thinking of herself".
Mileva and eventually their two sons often feel neglected by him and although she has merit to be discouraged, much of the book seemed to be whining to me. It may be because I am a modern woman and wanted her to defend herself the entire time taking credit where credit was due and kicking his selfish tush to the curb. With that being said, I was relieved that she finally saw the light and made decisions the second half of her life that finally benefitted her. I knew virtually nothing about the personal side of Albert Einstein so it was enlightening in that way and also made me interested to read a biography of his and Mileva's life.
In the nineteenth century, Croatian females were expected to marry and not seek formal education. Disabled females did not anticipate marriage, so Mileva’s overprotective mother advised she terminate her schooling. Yet her father supported her leaving home and traveling to Zurich for advanced education after high school.
In 1897, an almost twenty-one year old, Mileva had been admitted to Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich. Determined to master math and physics, she was the lone woman in a classroom of five males. One man did take note of Mileva. Albert Einstein.
Mileva, achievement oriented, struggled to be treated fairly in a male dominated society and Einstein appeared attracted to Mileva’s abstract thinking and independence. Their relationship started out as platonic, but within three years grew into something much more. Mileva became pregnant. She had almost reached the climax of her studies, but hoped the situation temporary.
Einstein and Mileva’s daughter, Lieserle, was born out of wedlock in Croatia. While her mother cared for Lieserle, Mileva returned to Zurich to be with Einstein and complete her studies. Mileva wanted their daughter to join them. But because of the circumstances of her birth, an embarrassed Einstein wanted their daughter to stay hidden. Lieserle died before age two of scarlet fever. Mileva never forgave herself for leaving their daughter behind. She did not want to return to Einstein. Yet her mother urged her to, hoping they’d marry. Eventually they married and had two sons.
Deeply mourning the loss of her daughter, Mileva is said to have had an epiphany concerning Lieserle and relativity. She shared this with Einstein and they co-authored several research papers, which they sent to a physics journal. Einstein’s name appeared as the sole author in the journal’s articles. He had not provided Mileva’s name, informing her it was because she had not received her credentials. Einstein omitted Mileva’s name again on a patent. Mileva appeared hopeless at this point and had not completed her studies.
The marriage declined. Einstein became in demand for full professorship at universities. He received accolades for their co-authored research, began to have dalliances with other women, including a cousin, and spent more time away from home.
Einstein mistreated and disrespected Mileva. Maybe he was a giant as a theoretical physicist, but providing the emotional needs to his wife and children, intimacy and sensitivity were out of his realm.
This is a heart wrenching story of loss, deception and betrayal. I gave the Other Einstein four stars.
Most recent customer reviews
........well written......... I believe here was so much more to this woman than reflected in this book.