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Kenneth Ellman Reviews Ideas and Opinions of Albert Einstein, A Most Accessible Book, Jan. 5, 2015.

This review is from: Ideas and Opinions (Hardcover)
Copyright 2015, Kenneth Ellman, All Rights Reserved.

Kenneth Ellman Reviews “Ideas and Opinions”, of Albert Einstein. From Kenneth Ellman,, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860. January 5, 2015.
If you ask someone about Albert Einstein or his writings and work, you may get a discussion of Physics or the Special or General Theory of Relativity or Quantum Theory. That is not surprising and is certainly the challenge of understanding and enlightenment offered by his mind to our world. All such subjects are touched on in this book. However some of those to whom you seek to share ideas may be unaware of the other extensive comments and writings of Albert Einstein where he would state his beliefs on matters not directly connected with Physics. This short simple book, Ideas and Opinions, which I have owned and given away for many years, was first published in 1954 by Crown Publishers and again published by Wing Books whose edition and page numbers I refer to in this review. In part it is based upon but not limited to Mein Weltbild. This book has the assistance of Helen Dukas the long time secretary to Albert Einstein and Sonja Bargmann who provided translations and editing. This is a short 377 page collection which makes the material very accessible. That is one of the reasons I recommend it.

There are a great many other valuable books connected with Albert Einstein such as “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” and “General Relativity, An Einstein Centenary Survey” by Hawking and Israel. I could go on for a long time about books of Einstein, and some who seek exposure to Albert Einstein may find it daunting where to begin. I tell you that it does not matter where you begin or particularly which book you choose as long as you keep at it to learn as much from his so many writings on so many subjects. The particularity of “Ideas and Opinions” is the ease to which you can immerse yourself and receive and touch the thoughts of this man who expressed so much of the human experience. His science alone brought him to all of us and enshrined his name, but his feeling and love for his Jewish people and humanity generally is heart rendering. I ask many people, particularly those to whom Albert Einstein thought of as his “Jewish Tribe” to again read what he left behind and to remember that he never left his community of fellow Jews to whom he defended with the sword of his accomplishments.

This little one volume will expose you to the views Einstein had on the social, religious, political, scientific, and other issues of his day. He was not hesitant to let his perspective be known.

You can also read his confrontation with Germany in his correspondence with the German Academies on Pages 205-211 and other commentary; his statement of the Battle of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto; his many assertions that his Jewish people have an absolute necessity for their own land and defense to survive; his antipathy to military culture and discipline; his deep honor for the great accomplishments of others such as Newton, Marie Curie, Mahatma Gandhi; his friend Max Planck, Johannes Kepler and many others. Physics and Reality from 1936 is reproduced as are many other scientific writings.

Page 201, discusses 1949 Radio Broadcast for the United Jewish Appeal where he stated:
“The Jews of Palestine did not fight for political independence for its own sake, but they fought to achieve free immigration for the Jews of many countries where their very existence was in danger; free immigration also for all those who were longing for a life among their own. It is no exaggeration to say that they fought to make possible a sacrifice perhaps unique in history. “

Page 187, discusses Mein Weltbild, 1934, where Einstein relates a conversation with Walter Rathenau:
“How strongly developed this sense of the sanctity of life is in the Jewish people is admirably illustrated by a little remark which Walter Rathenau once made to me in conversation: “When a Jew says that he’s going hunting to amuse himself, he lies.” The Jewish sense of the sanctity of life could not be more simply expressed.”

This book ”Ideas and Opinions” is merely an introduction, but it is an excellent start to learning. Keep in mind that Albert Einstein was a human being with all the greatness and faults that such entails. Remember that, when reading the extensive writings about who and what he was and did. What comes forth from learning about Einstein is that he truly loved mankind and his search for knowledge in Physics was part of that love and exploration of the human community. If you also happen to be of his Jewish People then it is an additional source of remembrance of his love for his Tribe. Kenneth Ellman, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860, Email: