THE MURDER OF ALBERT EINSTEIN by Todd Gitlin

THE MURDER OF ALBERT EINSTEIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 First-novelist Gitlin draws on his expertise as media critic and recent historian (Vertical Hold, 1983; The Sixties, 1987) to produce this tough-talking, savvy, but finally wearying thriller- -featuring an aging blond TV correspondent, the Sixties icon who radicalized her, and their frantic search for the man who murdered Einstein. Her Filofax crammed with commitments for televised interviews with rock stars, on-screen tàte-a-tàtes with elder statesmen, and live wrap-ups on her own TV news-magazine show, In Depth, burnt-out reporter Margo Ross can barely keep her eyes open, much less remember the wild and political 60's life she left behind. Nevertheless, she's not surprised to hear the voice of Sixties novelist Harry Kramer, her hero and mentor back when she was just a gofer on a New York underground rag, growling about a possible conspiracy over her office telephone in 1992. Kramer, whose own career is on a downhill slide, has uncovered evidence that Albert Einstein was murdered, on his deathbed, with an overdose of speed. Who would want to kill the most brilliant man of our century--even if he was a pacifist and it was 1955--particularly when he was near death anyway? Hungry for hard news, Ross joins Kramer in tracking down the answer among Einstein's former colleagues at the Institute for Advanced Physics, at the New York home of Einstein's hawkish nemesis, Gustav Janousek, in old newspaper reports on Einstein's developing Unified Field Theory, and at the Lower East Side apartment of Norman Gottehrer, an aging crank who as a youth basked in the light of Einstein's kind attention. Running against an impossible deadline and forced to fight for control of her story with a ratings-obsessed boss and the network's mega-mogul owner-- who may be trying to protect some highly placed friends--Margo is run too ragged to realize who the real evildoer is. The conclusion comes as a satisfying surprise--though by then readers may be too exhausted by Ross's frantic, end-of-the-millennium lifestyle to care. A clever story, told at hyper-speed.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-374-21617-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992




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