Following the 1919 confirmation of his general theory of relativity and being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, the life of physicist Albert Einstein became of interest to people other than scientists. He became a celebrity overnight, as they say, and writers and biographers looked at every aspect of his life and work.
After World War II, a science historian interviewed the Einsteins’ housekeeper about their time in Berlin from 1927 to 1933, before Einstein and his wife Elsa moved to the United States to escape Nazi Germany. These interviews with Herta Waldow, conducted by Friedrich Herneck, were published in East Germany as Einstein Privat. This current translation by Josef Eisinger, Einstein at Home, is the first time the interviews have been available in English and will be a valuable resource for future Einstein biographers. Einstein scholar Alice Calaprice provides a foreword while Eisinger gives an introduction summarizing Einstein’s whole life and significant work.
While the content of Einstein at Home will not significantly change how historians may view Einstein, Waldow’s recollections of everyday life in the Einstein household paint a picture of Albert as a fellow human with likes, dislikes, humor, disagreements, and a love for life. It’s a shame, however, that for a book whose content is derived from the Einsteins’ housekeeper, Herta Waldow’s name is lacking from the cover of the book.
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