Socrates by Paul Johnson
A Man for Our Times

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Synopsis

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

From bestselling biographer and historian Paul Johnson, a brilliant portrait of Socrates, the founding father of philosophy

In his highly acclaimed style, historian Paul Johnson masterfully disentangles centuries of scarce sources to offer a riveting account of Socrates, who is often hailed as the most important thinker of all time. Johnson provides a compelling picture of Athens in the fifth century BCE, and of the people Socrates reciprocally delighted in, as well as many enlightening and intimate analyses of specific aspects of his personality. Enchantingly portraying "the sheer power of Socrates's mind, and its unique combination of steel, subtlety, and frivolity," Paul Johnson captures the vast and intriguing life of a man who did nothing less than supply the basic apparatus of the human mind.
 

About Paul Johnson

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Paul Johnson is an acclaimed historian and author. In addition to his many biographies, his books also include A History of the American People and Modern Times. He has contributed to Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many others. He lives in London.
 
Published October 13, 2011 by Penguin Books. 225 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Socrates

Kirkus Reviews

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Johnson highlights numerous Socratic principles, most notably the separation of the body and soul, Socrates’ devotion to the law (he would not attempt to escape it, even when it meant his own safety), the immorality of revenge, the need to educate women and the corrosive desire to possess things.

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Publishers Weekly

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In this brisk account of Socrates’ life, ideas, and era, written to be useful for contemporary readers, Johnson (Churchill) chronicles the rise and fall of Athens under Pericles and his successors, es

Aug 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Socrates: A Man for Our Times

Publishers Weekly

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In this brisk account of Socrates’ life, ideas, and era, written to be useful for contemporary readers, Johnson (Churchill) chronicles the rise and fall of Athens under Pericles and his successors, establishing both the context of Socrates’ influence and his motivations.

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Socrates: A Man for Our Times

Washington Independent Review of Books

Acknowledging that “anyone who writes on the subject must make up his own mind [about where Socrates ends and Plato begins], as I have done in this account,” Johnson categorizes Plato as an “intellectual, by which I mean someone who thinks ideas matter more than people.” (In Intellectuals, Johnso...

Oct 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Socrates: A Man for Our Times

Washington Independent Review of Books

Acknowledging that “anyone who writes on the subject must make up his own mind [about where Socrates ends and Plato begins], as I have done in this account,” Johnson categorizes Plato as an “intellectual, by which I mean someone who thinks ideas matter more than people.” (In Intellectuals, Johnso...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

On page 92 Johnson's Socrates is a postmodernist and relativist: Socrates is "hostile not just to the 'right answer' but to the very of idea of there being a right answer."

Nov 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Socrates: A Man for Our Times

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