Relativity: The Special and General Theory

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(3.9 stars; 198 reviews)

This is an introduction to Einstein’s space-bending, time-stretching theory of Relativity, written by the master himself. Special and General relativity explain the structure of space time and provide a theory of gravitation, respectively. Einstein’s theories shocked the world with their counterintuitive results, including the dissolution of absolute time. In this book he brings a simplified form of his profound understanding of the subject to the layperson. In the words of Einstein: “The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics.” The book is challenging at times but, when approached patiently, proves itself one of the most lucid explanations of Relativity to be found anywhere. [Due to transcription or optical character recognition errors in creating online texts, and because of less-than-clear fonts in some printed texts, the variables as read in some of the equations here are not as Einstein intended. For example, the numeral ‘one’ has frequently been printed and read as the letter ‘I.’ In addition, some equations do not translate well into the spoken word. If you require completely accurate renditions of Einstein’s mathematical formulas, we suggest that you consult a published text.] — Summary written by Kelly Bescherer [and Laurie Anne Walden]

(3 hr 39 min)


A fine reading.

(4 stars)

I had no trouble hearing and understanding reader. Thank you for taking the time read.

(1 stars)

The text is great but the readers leave much to be desired. In particular, “Linda Lou” the worst! Her delivery is a whispering monotone that detracts completely from the text. One tends to strain to understand what she is saying and misses the message of the author. Additionally, in reading the formulas she repeatedly misquotes “ (1- V2/C2)” as “I” (eye) rather than “1” (one) minus V square over C square”. It’s difficult enough to follow the the equations without such mis-reads. This is truly a landmark work. It deserves better readers.

(1 stars)

This seems poorly read and unnecessarily wordy to the point where it become annoying and difficult to concentrate on the subject matter.

(5 stars)

Everyone sounds much better when I played it through my car's speakers or some good quality headphones. As to the equations, I find it nearly impossible to visualize the equations from the descriptions. I have a B. S. in Physics. You really need to see the equations and the graphs. I cannot imagine how blind students do this with a screen reader. I think everyone did a great job of reading. There is an occasional drop off at the end of the sentence that I had to turn up the volume to hear, but they were few. It was nice having multiple readers for a book like this. Made it seem much more alive. Linda Leu. Don't pay attention to the criticisms. Having very distinct voices made it much more enjoyable.

Relativity text

(0 stars)

Re. illustrations: online text links can be found on the Librivox catalog page for this project: (all Librivox catalog pages include text links when available). Of the two texts linked for this book, the one at Bartleby has better representation of the mathematical formulae. However, a printed text would be the most accurate (see note in project summary).

Worth reading ten times

(5 stars)

One of the most magnificent theories of science explained by Einstein himself in terms that those who are not theoretical physicists can comprehend. To delve into this revelation requires patience and determination and a desire to share in the discovery of a concept that to some extent requires one to reshape their mind.


(3.5 stars)

Touching on the concept of an immovable frame subverted by noncontiguously varying elements presents an excellent position frome which to examine our hypothesis for careless error. However the singular nature of the exercises from which the fundamental principals of the theory were formed leave much to be desired.

Thoroughly enjoy Einstein's written work!!

(4 stars)

The reader was Okay, book was good. I love everything I read about Einstein, especially General Relativity. My thesis was written in part on General relativity.