Author(s): University Sean B Carroll (University of Wisconsin University of Wisconsin; Howard Hughes Medical Institute University of Wisconsin University of Wisconsin University of Wisconsin; Howard Hughes Medical Institute University of Wisconsin; Howard Hughes Medical Institute)
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, ascended to prominent, dangerous roles, and were very lucky to survive. 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 Drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished and unknown material gathered over several years of research, "Brave Genius" tells the story of how each man endured the most terrible episode of the twentieth 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.
Praise for Sean B. Carroll's "Brave Genius" "This is, in short, a gripping book throughout, and Carroll deserves all praise for his double portrait of two exemplary heroes of conscience and intellect."--"Washington Post" "Suspenseful..."Brave Genius" is briskly paced and ambitiously sprawling, offering potted accounts of historical episodes large and small (the fall of France, the 1956 Hungarian crisis, Camus's famous feud with Jean-Paul Sartre, the discovery of the double helix), along with finer-grained descriptions of Camus's and Monod's work. Dr. Carroll has done some impressive archival digging, turning up fresh and often vivid details."--"New York Times" "Carroll beautifully encapsulates how two men seemingly so far apart in their philosophies and achievements both ended up sharing 'exceptional lives' transformed by 'exceptional events.'"--"Scientific American""Carroll does a masterful job of keeping the many elements together and the story moving....In 1959, C. P. Snow wrote of the "two cultures" -- that gulf between science and the humanities. "Brave Genius "provides an opportunity for those on both sides of the divide to sample a potent mix of genet-ics, philosophy and literature, forged in the twentieth-century tumult of war and cold war." --"Nature" "[A]n exciting and impressively told tale."--"American Scholar""Readers will learn a good deal about symbolism in Camus' fiction and biochemistry in Monod's molecular biology. But, above all, they will learn about a luminous friendship forged in dark times. A rare chronicle of valiant thinkers fighting political oppression and transcending professional boundaries."--"Booklist "(starred review) "Carroll deftly weaves science and history together in his account of the lives, accomplishments, and friendship of two exceptional men...Spanning history, science, and philosophy, this dual biographical study of two significant 20th-century figures
Sean B. Carroll is the author of "Remarkable Creatures," a finalist for the National Book Award, "The Making of the Fittest," winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Award, and of "Endless Forms Most Beautiful." Carroll also writes a monthly feature "Remarkable Creatures" for the "New York Times" Science Times. An internationally-known scientist and leading educator, Dr. Carroll currently heads the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.