I’ve finished reading the memoirs of Walter Rudin. It was a quick read for a few hours. His autobiography is titled The way I remember it, published by AMS in the history of mathematics series. It wasn’t particularly interesting, to say the least. From a mathematician who wrote excellent books on functional analysis and several others, I was expecting a much better story. Of course one cant write an imaginary story in an autobiography, but then the incidents in his life is pretty much the story of any European intellectual during the war days. The best I liked is the one from Karl Popper. However, I could connect many incidents from Rudin’s life, primarily because of the geography. There is a chapter on his days in Switzerland, which also touched upon Lausanne. That part for once enthused me! Was wondering how Lausanne would have been 70 years ago! If you are completely unaware of the life in Europe around the WW period, then this will give you a perspective. Like many scientific minds of that era, he had a long route to the United States. He discusses the path and family traits of that journey, in a somehat uncomplicated language.
In his autobiography, Rudin has discussed some of his contributions to mathematics as well. That part appeared a little informative, but technical read. If you know his work already, you would connect it nicely. I particularly liked the chapter on Function Theory in the Unit Ball of Cn.
In all, not a book I would recommend, unless you are a Walter Rudin fan and knows his contributions in much more detail. However, this may be a motivating read for a young school kid aspiring to be a mathematician. Why did I say that? I don’t know! Don’t ask me why either!