For much of his life, Stephen Hawking has been a cultural icon. The brilliant mind consigned to a wheelchair, the result of his crippling battle with motor neurone disease. His 1988 book A Brief History of Time changed the way science was looked at by the world, selling more than 10 million copies and being translated into over 40 languages.
Despite this, little is known of Hawking’s private life, from his carefree days as a 17 year-old undergrad at Oxford, excelling in academics and rowing, to his physical decline during his 20s, and marriage breakdown in the mid 90s.
This is all about to change with a new film The Theory of Everything, adapted from his first wife Jane’s acclaimed memoir Travelling to Infinity. Hopefully they do one of the greatest minds of our time justice.
by Jane Hawking
In this compelling memoir his first wife, Jane Hawking, relates the inside story of their extraordinary marriage.
As Stephen’s academic renown soared, his body was collapsing under the assaults of motor neurone disease, and Jane’s candid account of trying to balance his 24-hour care with the needs of their growing family will be inspirational to anyone dealing with family illness.
The inner-strength of the author, and the self-evident character and achievements of her husband, make for an incredible tale that is always presented with unflinching honesty; the author’s candour is no less evident when the marriage finally ends in a high-profile meltdown, with Stephen leaving Jane for one of his nurses, while Jane goes on to marry an old family friend.
In this exceptionally open, moving and often funny memoir, Jane Hawking confronts not only the acutely complicated and painful dilemmas of her first marriage, but also the faultlines exposed in a relationship by the pervasive effects of fame and wealth.
The result is a book about optimism, love and change that will resonate with readers everywhere.
by Stephen Hawking
The extraordinary personal autobiography of the world’s most famous scientist, written solely and exclusively by Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.
My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his post-war London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him ‘Einstein’; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of academia.
Writing with characteristic humility and humour, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS aged twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time – one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.
Clear-eyed, intimate and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.
by Stephen Hawking
Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries?
These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory.
To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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