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The illegitimate child in Einstein's past did not come to light until more than 30 years after his death, when the first volume of his collected papers finally appeared, in 1987. Still, a mystery remains. What happened to Lieserl?
Zackheim says she decided to pursue the book when she discovered that Einstein, a great icon of her youth in Compton, Calif., had had a child he might have forsaken. "It fascinated me from a psychological point of view," she says. "How did his daughter feel about being abandoned, especially by somebody who was so important to the culture?"
Helped by small grants and loans, Zackheim set off on her five-year quest for Lieserl, crisscrossing Switzerland, Germany, England, Hungary, and especially Serbia. Even while bombs burst, she visited Mileva's ancestral villages, seeking her kin or anyone close to her family, including Serbian Orthodox priests and nuns, and holding many hours of coffee-table conversation, to say nothing of rummaging through countless baptismal records and archives for key documents.
Like Zackheim, most people are slowly discovering that Einstein was not simply the secular saint they grew up with -- the aureole-haired, sock-shunning professor who solved geometry problems for little girls, alerted F.D.R. to the German A-bomb peril and then wept over the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Einstein reshaped our view of the universe. That he was a flawed human being is not only fascinating in a tabloid sort of way but reassuring as well. It makes our heroes, even those of unfathomable genius, seem a little more like us. ---From Time Magazine, October 4th 1999
Posted February 19, 2007
Much has been written recently about Albert Einstein's personal life and none of it is positive. This book will no doubt further that impression but again it is well deserved. This is great piece of detective work and is quite convincing and exciting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.