In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Maric, Einstein's First Wife

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9780801878565: In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Maric, Einstein's First Wife
Review:

"A touching collection of letters from Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric, to her closest friend... They provide a fascinating insight into her relationship with Einstein, from the intensity of first love to the mundane reality of married life and the realization that the bohemian student with whom she had fallen in love only had room in his heart for physics... They are memorable because they allow Mileva to tell her story in her own voice." -- Peter D. Smith, Times Literary Supplement



"Few stories in the history of science are as heartbreaking as that of Mileva Maric... Einstein scholars will comb [these letters] for their insights into the mind of Einstein during his earliest creative period. Others will be fascinated, and saddened, by the deteriorating relationship between Maric and Einstein. And Einstein emphatically does not come out of this well." -- Marcus Chown, New Scientist



"Einstein's first wife, no mean scientist herself, subordinated her career to bear his children in a short marriage... A fascinating read." -- Choice



"Appropriate for the United Nations-designated International Year of Physics which celebrates the centennial of Einstein's 'Miraculous Year' of 1905... pays tribute to a woman long overshadowed by the man she loved and married." -- Margaret Reilly, Association for Women in Science Magazine



"Spanning forty years, the letters collected here by Milan Popovic from Mileva Einstein, née Maric, to her best friend Helene Savic are unusual in their range and frankness. They evoke with unparalleled immediacy the circles of family, colleagues, and friends within which Albert Einstein flourished, even as Mileva and her marriage to Albert foundered. The letters are also a mine of information about the status of European women with intellectual ambitions in this period and make an important contribution to our understanding of the scope and limitations of such ambitions. Popovic invaluably places the letters in a cultural and psychological context. His insights are a function not only of his personal relationship with the recipient of the letters but of his perceptiveness as a practicing psychoanalyst. This is a first-rate book that will appeal to a wide readership." -- Robert Schulmann, Editor of the Einstein Papers edition and former Director of the Einstein Papers Project

From the Publisher:

Mileva Maric was a remarkable woman by any measure. One of the first women to study physics at a European university, she met and fell in love with a young physicist whose revolutionary theories would shortly transform our understanding of the universe. Mileva's marriage to Albert Einstein and the birth of their three children (the first, Lieserl, was born before the two were married) derailed her career as a physicist. Ensuing marital difficulties also threw Mileva into a severe depression for years after she and Albert separated in 1916 and divorced three years later. The subject of much speculation on the part of Einstein biographers, Mileva's life has remained shrouded in mystery and half-truth.

In Albert's Shadow, a treasure trove of seventy previously unpublished letters and cards written by Mileva to Helene Savic, an intimate friend from her university days, brings Mileva's life and marriage into focus more sharply than ever before. Edited and introduced by Helene Savic's grandson, Milan Popovic, this revealing and often touching epistolatary biography offers a new and less-than-flattering perspective on the private life of Albert Einstein and provides a compelling portrait of a supportive and brilliant woman whose world-famous husband betrayed her deep affections. Deftly placed into their biographical and historical context by Popovic, these letters draw an intriguing picture of intellectual life in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Through Mileva's letters -- and the notes Albert appended to them -- Popovic charts the course of Mileva's life and her relationship with Albert, from their happy years through their divorce and to Mileva's troubled life after Albert. Mileva's letters describe their mutual infatuation; her strained relations with Albert's parents, who opposed the marriage; and her experiences at university. Shortly after their marriage in 1903, Mileva slowly comes to realize that science has a greater hold on Albert's attention than she does, and her tragic letters to Helene after 1909 lay bare her anguish at his growing distance (a situation made worse by Albert's secret affair with his cousin Elsa). After the divorce, Mileva's letters chronicle the depression with which she struggled for the rest of her life, and describe the lives of her and Albert's two surviving children, the youngest of whom, Eduard, had developed schizophrenia. The letters end in 1940 with Europe at war. Although Helene Savic died four years later, the correspondence she and her family preserved now offer unprecedented insights into the life of the twentieth century's greatest mind and the tragic story of his tormented first wife.

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