A Man for Our Times

Paul Johnson - Author

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ISBN 9781101545195 | 224 pages | 13 Oct 2011 | Penguin | 18 - AND UP
Additional Formats:
Summary of Socrates Summary of Socrates Reviews for Socrates An Excerpt from Socrates

As Plutarch observed, Socrates "was the first person to demonstrate that life is open to philosophy at all times, in every part, among all kinds of people, and in every experience and activity." This brilliant biography of Socrates by renowned historian Paul Johnson situates the father of philosophy in the fifth-century BC Athens that he loved, delving into the geopolitics of the time, his service as a soldier, his wide range of acquaintances, and the civic unrest that led to Socrates' trial and death. A fresh and fascinating portrait of the thinker who believed questioning and education were the keys to a virtuous life, this book proves that Socrates is as relevant as ever.

Praise for Socrates by Paul Johnson:

“An admirably concise view of a remarkable life whose influence remains central to the foundations of Western thought.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Johnson’s] genuine love of the demos makes him an all-too-rare figure in today’s chattering classes.”
First Things

“Johnson writes more concisely than most scholars and brings to his prose a wealth of anecdote and asides unknown to most academics. His Socrates comes alive not through arguments over Platonic dating or Pythagorean influence, but by wit and allusion to Jane Austen novels, Samuel Johnson, John Maynard Keynes, firsthand remembrances of Winston Churchill's speeches and Richard Dawkins. A valuable overview.”
Washington Times

The New Republic

“With effortless erudition, Paul Johnson brings to life the world of the great philosopher.”
Women's Wear Daily

“A succinct, useful exploration of life in ancient Athens and of the great philosopher’s essential beliefs.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderfully readable account of life in Athens, its political quarrels, and its failures. As good as a murder mystery, Johnson’s narrative is exciting.”
Library Journal

“Enlightening.... Johnson disentangles centuries of scarce and questionable sources to offer a riveting account of a homely but charismatic middle-class man whose ideas still shape the way we decide how to act, and how we fathom the notion of body and soul.”
History Book Club

“Johnson is an accomplished historian and writer with a fluid, unpretentious style and an honest voice. These gifts, which have made his 12 previous books enjoyable and popular, are no less evident in Socrates.”
The Washington Independent Review of Books

“This snappy biography goes down easy while offering a full portrait of Socrates—the man, the thinker, the celebrity—and the world he lived in.”
Zócalo Public Square

“Spectacular...a delight to read.”
The Wall Street Journal

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