• Brave Genius

  • A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize
  • By: Sean B. Carroll
  • Narrated by: Byron Wagner
  • Length: 17 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The never-before-told account of the intersection of some of the most insightful minds of the 20th century, and a fascinating look at how war, resistance, and friendship can catalyze genius.

In the spring of 1940, the aspiring but unknown writer Albert Camus and budding scientist Jacques Monod were quietly pursuing ordinary, separate lives in Paris. After the German invasion and occupation of France, each joined the Resistance to help liberate the country from the Nazis and ascended to prominent, dangerous roles. After the war and through twists of circumstance, they became friends, and through their passionate determination and rare talent they emerged as leading voices of modern literature and biology, each receiving the Nobel Prize in their respective fields. 

Drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished and unknown material gathered over several years of research, Brave Genius tells the story of how each man endured the most terrible episode of the 20th century and then blossomed into extraordinarily creative and engaged individuals. It is a story of the transformation of ordinary lives into exceptional lives by extraordinary events - of courage in the face of overwhelming adversity, the flowering of creative genius, deep friendship, and of profound concern for and insight into the human condition.

©2013 Sean B. Carroll (P)2019 Pitchstone Publishing

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Fascinating book but a difficult listen

I don’t fault the narrator, so much as the publisher. If you’ve got a book about 2 French intellectuals, hire a narrator who has a little bit of knowledge of how French ounds. This narrator mispronounced familiar words and names Camus, De Gaulle, the Sorbonne, etc and it made it hard. Not his fault that he speaks no French. He was miscast and given no support in the audio booth.

The main character, Jacques Monod, was an astonishing human being, a brilliant and brave man, and a great character for a book. It was very exciting to learn about him. The philosopher Camus plays a support role, and the author of the book struggles a little bit trying to give them equal weight. Sean Carroll is a science writer and I felt he was more insightful about the scientist than the philosopher,but in the end you do feel that the parallel between the two Frenchmen is very much justified. I was very glad I read this book.