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ALBERT EINSTEIN by Elizabeth MacLeod


A Life of Genius

by Elizabeth MacLeod

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-55337-396-0
Publisher: Kids Can

MacLeod (Lucy Maud Montgomery, 2001, etc.) covers a lot of ground in this brief biography of Albert Einstein: school, early career in a Swiss patent office, early days as a professor in Bern, becoming friends with Marie Curie, choosing work over family, WWII and the move to Princeton, New Jersey, and the post-war years as a citizen of the world. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is described as “the first really new thing about the force of gravity since Newton’s original ideas 250 years earlier,” and the author does an excellent job of describing the theory for a young audience. Einstein’s legacy is explained in clear, specific terms: the discovery of pulsars and black holes, the big bang theory, and the development of nuclear power, radiation therapy, lasers, fluorescent lights, and automatic doors. Beyond its exposition of Einstein’s work, this is an ode to hard work, imagination, and creative thinking. Included are the difficult moral decisions of Einstein’s life, especially the letter he wrote to FDR that led to the Manhattan project, which Einstein later called “the greatest mistake of my life.” The lively mix of text, sidebars, photographs, newspaper excerpts, equations, and Einstein’s handwritten notes adds up to a format inviting browsing and offering much information to closer readers. A cartoon of Albert on each spread presents additional information in speech bubbles and adds a touch of levity to what could have been a heavy text. Though no bibliography is included, John B. Severance’s Einstein: Visionary Scientist would make a good companion. A useful addition to collections for young readers. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)