A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize
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Drawing upon a wealth of previously unpublished and unknown material gathered over several years of research, Brave Genius tells the story of how each man endured the most terrible episode of the twentieth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.
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.
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