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In this richly textured new biography, Susan Quinn presents us with a far more complicated picture of the woman we thought we knew. Drawing on family documents, Quinn sheds new light on the tragic losses and patriotic passion that infused Marie Sklodowska Curie’s early years in Poland. And through access to Marie Curie’s journal, closed to researchers until 1990, we hear in her own words of the intimacy and joy of her marriage to Pierre Curie and the depth of her despair at his premature death.
The image of Marie Curie as the grieving widow, attired always in black, is familiar to many of us. Much less well known is the affair with a married colleague that helped her recover from her loss. The testimonials of friends, hitherto unavailable, lend this love story a sometimes painful immediacy. Marie Curie’s public triumphs are well known: she was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and one of the few people, to date, to receive a second. Unknown or barely known are the defeats she suffered:…[more]