``Why is it that nobody understands me and everybody likes me?'' Albert Einstein reportedly asked the New York Times in 1944. In this new collection of 11 essays on Einstein's life, physicist Pais responds, ``It is neither true that no one understands Einstein nor that everyone likes him.'' Pais speaks from a position of authority: He was a friend of Einstein's and wrote the highly acclaimed 1982 Einstein biography Subtle Is the Lord.... Whereas that volume focused on Einstein's scientific achievements and contained a plethora of equations incomprehensible to the layperson, this companion volume primarily illuminates Einstein's relationship with people both inside and outside the scientific community. For example, the reader catches several of Einstein's high-powered conversations with the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr about the implications of quantum mechanics, and a fleeting yet fascinating debate concerning the nature of truth with Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. In the concluding essays Pais generally allows Einstein to recount in his own words (through excerpts from his writings, speeches, and interviews) his views on religion, philosophy, and politics. We learn how Einstein used his worldwide fame to disseminate his views on pacifism and supranationalism through the media (views that provoked anti-Semitic reactions and charges of Communist leanings from right-wingers). Along the way, Pais sheds new light on some of the controversies surrounding this intellectual giant. For instance, Pais lays to rest the claim that Einstein's first wife, Mileva Mari, played a significant creative role in the development of special relativity. Pais also explains how Einstein's scientific mind-set prevented him from accepting the indeterminate nature of quantum mechanics—even though he called it ``the most successful physical theory of our period.'' There is considerable repetition from essay to essay and despite the author's best intentions, much of the scientific discussion will lie beyond the grasp of the lay reader. Those seeking a broad overview of Einstein's life will be better served elsewhere.

Pub Date: May 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-19-853994-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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