What We Are Reading Today: Einstein on Einstein

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Updated 14 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Einstein on Einstein

Authors: Jurgen Renn & Hanoch Gutfreund

At the end of World War II, Albert Einstein was invited to write his intellectual autobiography for the Library of Living Philosophers. The resulting book was his uniquely personal Autobiographical Notes, a classic work in the history of science that explains the development of his ideas with unmatched warmth and clarity. 

Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn introduce Einstein’s scientific reflections to today’s readers, tracing his intellectual formation from childhood to old age and offering a compelling portrait of the making of a philosopher-scientist.

Einstein on Einstein features the full English text of Autobiographical Notes along with incisive essays that place Einstein’s reflections in the context of the different stages of his scientific life. Gutfreund and Renn draw on Einstein’s writings, personal correspondence, and critical writings by Einstein’s contemporaries to provide new perspectives on his greatest discoveries. 

Also included are Einstein’s responses to his critics, which shed additional light on his scientific and philosophical worldview. Gutfreund and Renn quote extensively from Einstein’s initial, unpublished attempts to formulate his response.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

Updated 31 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cubans by Anthony DePalma

The Cubans from Anthony DePalma, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times,  is a must-read for anyone interested in Latin America, say critics.

“In his thoroughly researched and reported book, replete with human detail and probing insight, DePalma renders a Cuba few tourists will ever see,” said Marie Arana in a review for  The New York Times.

DePalma burrows deep into one enclave of Havana, the historic borough of Guanabacoa, some three miles southeast of the capital.

“Lying across the famous harbor from the city center, Guanabacoa is close enough to have ties to Havana’s businesses, politics and culture,” he writes.

“Yet it operates at its own speed, with its own idiosyncrasies and an overriding sense, as one Cuban told me, of ‘geographic fatalism’ that comes from being so close to the capital, yet so very hard to reach from there.”

The book sadly leaves scant hope that anything will change in Cuba in the foreseeable future, but is testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Cuban people.