Author: Marie Benedict
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publish Date: October 18, 2016 (Yesterday!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever."
My Two Cents:
In "The Other Einstein," we meet Mileva Maric, a gifted young woman who moves to Zurich (where she knows no one) from her native Serbia. Isolated at home because her main interests include physics, something that many thought was not something women should be involved with at the time, she is looking forward to finding common ground with some of her classmates at the university in Zurich. The year is 1896 and few women went to university and she is the very first woman to enter the program at Zurich. She meets a young Albert Einstein and they fall in love. He promises her that they will be an equal Bohemian couple but his promises eventually go astray.
I had never heard of Mileva before reading this book. Come to think of it, I knew very little about Albert Einstein's earlier life before reading this book. I love when histfic can teach me something and introduce me to new people. This book certainly does that! Not only do you have the love story between Albert and Mileva, which starts with a bang but the book explores a lot about Mileva's position as a woman and what it means for her brilliant mind and her potential career. She is definitely a woman limited by the place and time in which she lives in. It was disheartening to read about but really made me realize just how far that we've come!
The relationship between Mileva and Albert is so fascinating. At first, Albert seems really interested in making sure that their relationship is a partnership: both romantically and professionally. Mileva is thrilled because she believes that it will get her foot in the door with actually having a career as a physicist. As we see in the book, Albert becomes jealous and decides that he wants a dedicated wife after all. He takes some of Mileva's ideas and renegs on publishing her name on papers after promising to in the first place. I felt horrible for Mileva and this was a side of Albert Einstein that I had never read about. It's always fun to have your assumptions turned on their heads.
Told from Mileva's perspective, this book gave me so much to think about. I really enjoyed learning about Mileva from this book. It is so sad that she has largely been lost to history. This is a well written book that I was happy to dive into.