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Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain (Thorndike Core) [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Michael Paterniti


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Book Description

Dec 2000 Thorndike Core
Albert Einstein's brain floats in formaldehyde in a Tupperware® bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is Michael Paterniti, a young journalist from Maine. Sitting next to him is an eighty-four-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955--and simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years.

On a cold February day, the two men and the brain leave New Jersey and light out on I-70 for sunny California, where Einstein's perplexed granddaughter, Evelyn, awaits. And riding along as the imaginary fourth passenger is Einstein himself, an id-driven genius, the original galactic slacker with his head in the stars.

Part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography, and part meditation, Driving Mr. Albert is one of the most unique road trips in modern literature. With the brain as both cargo and talisman, Paterniti perceives every motel, truck-stop diner, and roadside attraction as a weigh station for the American dream in the wake of the scientist's mind-blowing legacy. Finally, inspired by the man who gave a skeptical world a glimpse of its cosmic origins, this extraordinary writer weaves his own unified field theory of time, love, and the power to believe, once again, in eternity.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company; Lrg edition (Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0783892985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783892986
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.9 x 2.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,643,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Albert Einstein was born in 1879, in Ulm, Germany, with a head shaped like a lopsided medicine ball. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  120 reviews
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kerouac meets Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 11 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book in a single day, laughing out loud every few pages and ignoring incoming phonecalls, visitors, and mealtimes along the way--whatever might come between me and Driving Mr. Albert. It's a quirky, sweet, smart, and sometimes sad tale built on the backs of three great characters--Michael Paterniti, Dr. Harvey, and Einstein's brain. The writing is stunning straight through, Paterniti's reflections on life and love belong in Bartlett's, and the mad trio's visits to Los Alamos, Vegas, and William S. Burroughs poise this book as the 21st century version of On The Road. A thrilling, fun read... I can't recommend it more.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain Jamming with the Alberts 14 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't know where to begin . . . a spectacular journey across America and through the mind and heart of a redoubtable writer with a singular voice and vision, and with two of the most unique characters as mates - Einstein as you have never known him before, hovering like a giant sun over the passengers carrying his brain, and Dr. Harvey, an eccentric, enigmatic real life Frank J. Parnell ("Ever heard of the neutron bomb?"). I heard about this book on The Connection on NPR and immediately went out, bought it, and read it in two nights. It was far better than I even expected. The juxtaposition of Einstein's lack of intimacy and personal relationships with the writer's own need for it, and fear of leaving it behind, permanently, as he drives down America's highways with an octagenerian and a genius's brain in the trunk. The details of Einstein's life that provide a picture of Einstein as person and demigod. The trip itself, including a quintessentially William S. Burroughs moment with Mr. Burroughs himself. Truly engrossing reading. Once in a great while, a book like this comes out and redeems my faith that authentic, fresh storytelling as artform is alive and well. Brain jam through the latest great american road trip. I can't reccommend it enough.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a ride! 18 July 2000
By ted sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an amazing and poetic work, almost as full of ideas as the legendary brain itself. Paterniti is a gloriously gifted writer, blessed with the ability to explore both big ideas and small moments in unnervingly fresh ways. I'd recommend Driving Mr. Albert to anybody fascinated by the highways and byways of the human brain or the American landscape, or to anybody who simply loves good writing.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't do better with your time.. 20 July 2000
By Jon D. Katz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great rendering of one of the most bizarre folktales in scientific history..the fate of Einstein's brain. You simply can't spend a more entertaining few hours this summer than with this hilarious and poignant book..
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driving Mr. Albert is a delightful surprise! 15 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Driving Mr. Albert" will surprise you as it did me. The insights into Einstein's genius and his personal relationships (or lack of as it turns out) are facinating. However, the delightful surprise here is the encounters and digressions as Harvey and Paterniti (and Einstein's brain) make their way cross-country. The events are wild (dinner with a high, swashbuckling William Burroughs), weird ( Samual Dinsmoor's cement 'Garden of Eden' near Lucas, Kansas) and hilarious ( the off-the-wall Pakistani check-in man in Santa Monica and the ongoing fencing between the illusive Harvey and the writer as Paterniti trys to see the brain). You keep wanting more and Paterniti gives it to you all the way to California where Harvey's unexpected reaction upon finally meeting Evelyn Einstein is a stopper. All this is written beautifully by Paterniti with descriptions and philosophies of the road that make you reflect between laughs. This is a must read for summer.
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