Back on April 16, 2015, the New York Times Book review did a “By the Book” segment with Freeman Dyson. In the interview, he was asked what his ideal literary dinner party would be, and he included NYU’s Joan Connelly and me in his guest list (which also included Mary Russell). Well, this weekend in Princeton, Joan and I managed to have two thirds of this party together with Professor Dyson and his wonderful wife Imme and two other renowned historians from the Institute for Advanced Study. It was a truly amazing evening.
I drove up to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton today to have lunch with Freeman Dyson after finishing his new book, Maker of Patterns. I tore through the book in one day, and enjoyed it immensely. Dyson narrates his life through a collection of letters he wrote home to his parents and later to his sister Alice. It is a remarkable jaunt through the second half of the 20th century – both personally and politically – and it is a real literary triumph. If anyone wants a good summer read, I highly recommend this book. At 94, Dyson is still a formidable force and a wonderful conversationalist.