LOUIS PASTEUR: A Great Life in Brief by Pasteur Vallery-Radot

LOUIS PASTEUR: A Great Life in Brief

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This is a series which has included some very fine brief biographies- but which, as a series, deserves to be better known. The life of Pasteur on two counts seems particularly a propos:- first, it is topical, expressing in purest example the attitudes, ideals, methods of the scientist; second, it is a life that lends itself to spare, compact recital. For if one confines Pasteur's achievements to their scientific nub -- and only a technical study would go beyond the facts set forth here- what remains is a figure psychologically uncomplex, if amazing in acuity and intuition; a career of successive triumphs and rare unprofessional interests; and a domestic harmony marred only by the loss of a child. The biography follows as straight a line as one could wish. Surely, Pasteur is the despair of the abnormal psychologist,- a patient but impassioned toiler, pragmatic but inspired in his imagination, humorless, proud of his discoveries but relatively free of vanity, unshakeably self-confident, gently sentimental, a patriot, and- it would seem- nothing deeper, further nor more devious. The author, sole living descendant of Pasteur, writes with a simplicity and sympathy that are admirable.

Publisher: Knopf