The “most important scientist of the 20th century” (not even “arguably”) tells his personal story amid explanations of his contributions to our understanding of how the universe works.
Novelli adds comical notes to the first-person chronicle with loosely drawn cartoons of Einstein—sporting his trademark frizzy hair from the cradle on and often with protruding tongue to boot—along with a cat (Schrödinger’s, presumably) and other figures. The author also offers interleaved nontechnical third-person descriptions of the great man’s insights into light, time, relativity, matter and energy, and other related topics. The uncredited translator is casual with tenses (“I grow up with the spread of electric lighting, which had quite an impact on the first part of my life”), and a publicity photo of Einstein wearing a feathered headdress (recast on an earlier page into an even more offensive cartoon) is, at best, an anachronistic flub. Still, this is an illuminating profile that takes as proper note of the great brain’s pacifism as it does of his revolutionary ideas. Co-published in the Flashes of Genius series, Darwin and the True Story of the Dinosaurs likewise combines informal fictive autobiography (“I certainly didn’t come this far to goof off”) with side notes on his significant ideas and their historical context. Both volumes close with “dictionaries” of appropriate terms and colleagues.
Relatively informative, though the change of language and country leave a few rough spots, and there are already more than a few similar profiles available. (Biography. 10-13)