Einstein's Lost Child

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Zackheim will be adding, however, to the popular re-evaluation of Einstein that is slowly catching up with the scholarly revelations. Knowing Lieserl's fate, of course, doesn't make much difference when it comes to Einstein's science. But, 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.

His defenders minimize the latest round of deconstruction. "That Einstein was a cad and mistreated women," says Schulmann, noting this aspect of Zackheim's book, "is nothing new." But it is critical for cultural iconography. 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.

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