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Publisher's Summary

Through family interviews, diaries, letters, and workbooks that had been sealed for over 60 years, Barbara Goldsmith reveals the Marie Curie behind the myth - an all-too-human woman struggling to balance a spectacular scientific career, a demanding family, the prejudice of society, and her own passionate nature. Obsessive Genius is a dazzling portrait of Curie, her amazing scientific success, and the price she paid for fame.

The best-selling, "excellent...poignant - and scientifically lucid - portrait" (New York Times Book Review) of the remarkable Marie Curie....

©2005 Barbara Goldsmith (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Never a dull moment.... Goldsmith leads the reader through a wonderland of facts with just the right blend of science and story. In the end, the mystery of the great Madame [Curie] remains, but a deeper understanding of what she went through as a woman and a scientist shines as strong as her radium." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"Bestselling historian Goldsmith incisively chronicles [Curie's] intensely dramatic life.... Her powerful portrait reveals a woman of great passion, genius, and pain who changed the world." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Obsessive Genius

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Engrossing

There have been so many biographies about Marie Curie (Marya Salomea Sklodowska 1867-1934) that any new book is going to either present new material or look at the information from a different viewpoint. Goldsmith, a social historian, has chosen to pursue “the real woman”. Curie was one of only two women to graduate from the Sorbonne with a science degree. Curie was born in Russian occupied Poland and the University of Warsaw did not allow women to attend. She married Pierre Curie and shortened her name.

Goldsmith covers primarily the hatred, bigotry and prejudice Curie had to overcome rather than on her scientific discoveries. Goldsmith’s weakness is her difficulty in attempting to explain the scientific and theoretical aspects of Marie Curie’s work. Instead Goldsmith tells how the scientific establishment detested her. She won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for Physics. She shared this with her husband Pierre for discovering radioactivity. She was not allowed to give the keynote lecture that the winner traditionally gives because she was a woman. In 1911 Curie, now a widow, won a second Nobel Prize this time in Chemistry for the discovery of Radium. She won this one alone. Curie, a winner of two Nobel Prizes, was refused membership in the French Academy of Science because she was a woman. During WWI, she designed a mobile x-ray machine and then trained her daughter in its use. Her daughter then trained technicians to use it. In 1934 her daughter, Irene, discovered artificial radioactivity and won the Nobel Prize. Marie Curie discovered polonium, radium and radioactivity. She died on 3 July 1934 of aplastic pernicious anemia caused by radium radiation.

The book was well written and researched. The weakness is noted above. The book was interesting, but there are more in-depth biographies about Marie Curie available.

Eliza Foss does a good job narrating the book. Foss is a stage actor and award winning audiobook narrator. I have listened to numerous books she has narrated.

9 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

The story was well-written, and I felt as if I was there in the same room watching what are we listening to. The story provided details of Cities life I had been unaware of. Overall, I loved it.

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liking it so far, but....

a) the perpetuation of the myth that Einstein was anything but a stellar student before he got to university is blatantly false.
b) the frequent inability of the narrator to properly pronounce scientific terms is irksome to those of us who *do* know how they're pronounced.

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Educational

I wanted to hear more about the science,and less about inequality. Too many overtones of gender and race.Not enough about the work and discovery of Marie Curie.Radium and polonium should have been discussed more.Too much talk about equal rights.I will have to read Eve Curies biography that she wrote about her mother.Modern books like to push political nonsense propaganda to divide and conquer.

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Great account of a genius ahead of her era

Great bio of a genius caught up in an era where women were denied access to study, professions and positions, and insight into a host of discoveries in physics, chemistry and medicine, now applied to everyday life across home, manufacturing, science and war. Curious anecdotes also of everyday life and society from late 1800s to the Nazi era and second world war.

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Mr. & Mrs. Curie; Pierre and Marie

Any additional comments?

This book gives a lot of credit to Mr. Pierre Curie which he deserves, he was a great scientist in his own right and helped make her what she became, a great scientist and person.