Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie

Brenda Maddox in the New York Times:

Hindsight is the bane of biography. Feminism is one of the most distorting of lenses. To see Marie Curie forced to sit among the audience in Stockholm while her husband, Pierre, gave the Curie184 lecture following their joint receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1903 is infuriating. What a way to treat a woman! One of the strengths of ”Obsessive Genius,” Barbara Goldsmith’s excellent short biography of Marie Curie, is its suppression of anger.

Goldsmith, whose books include ”Little Gloria . . . Happy at Last” and ”Johnson v. Johnson,” tells the remarkable story of the first woman to win a Nobel Prize without anachronistic editorializing. The facts of a working woman’s life in the late 19th century speak for themselves. After the birth of her first child in 1897, Curie would come home from the laboratory to breast-feed. When that took too much time, she hired a wet nurse, then passed much of the child-care duty to her widowed father, who joined her household. What mattered was to get back to the lab.

More here.