The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint Hardcover – 26 Jul 2007
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[A] spritely and illuminating account of the events surrounding Socrates' execution... [A]lways informative and enjoyable. (Carolyne Larrington TLS)
About the Author
Emily Wilson is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Educated at Oxford and Yale, she is the author of "Mocked with Death: Tragic overliving from Sophocles to Milton" (2004), translator of "Six Tragedies of Seneca" (2009), and classics editor for the Norton Anthology of World Literature.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the end of the book there is also a very good further reading section split into relevant chapters which is very helpful especially for those interested in a particular angle on the great philosopher.
Overall a very good book for anyone interested in one of the most influential philosophers of all time.
The author writes exceptionally good and produceds some very worthwhile observations. If you only read one book on Socrates, make it this one. However, if you want a more heavy-duty take on Socrates, there are "heavier" titles out there.
He had to die to underline in an unmistakeable way, the importance of freedom of speech. It truly is something worth dieing for.
Freedom of speech is, as far as he was concerned,a matter of simple conversation. You say what's on your mind and the other person says what's on their mind.
Nobody says 'you can't say that'.
THIS NOT WHAT WE HAVE NOW.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As a libertarian myself, I have always thought that much of what Socrates was ultimately about was to force people to ask questions about "established" wisdom; one of the most threatening things that can be done in any social order. Doing this at a time when there were many gods supposedly looking after ancient Athens was really no different than those who went to their deaths in Stalin's gulags; a timeless threat to those who rule by consensus or complete control.
Wilson has obviously spent many years researching her subject and has come up with her own theories about just why Socrates was given the death sentence, and they deserve just as much deference as many others which have been equally well "established" by others who studied the man and the era.
This is a really great book about a wonderful topic and one of the few I have read on the subject that i plan to keep in my library.
We can level complaints at Wilson because of that statement, that maybe one shouldn’t judge Socrates with modern sensibilities, that maybe things were different back in the day, that maybe we’re actually talking Plato here rather than Socrates; but when a modern reader does some digging, he or she will certainly, at some point, be struck by this apparent “lack” in our icon Socrates. He had three sons, a wife or two (we’re not really sure how many wives), and for whatever reasons, he chose to drink poison and off himself when, according to tradition, friends and admirers had provided him an opportunity to escape. And this to me as a writer was something that I was very interested in; that “lack” must have had a direct and deep impact on his oikos. Wilson is one of the few scholars I came across who have directly criticized him because of this, and for that I commend her.
This is a fine book to add to a collection, and I recommend it without reservation. Hopefully in the future she’ll make it available as an ebook. If you’re interested in Socrates try others as well by Waterfield, Hughes, Stone, Vlastos, Navia, McPherran, and of course the primary sources we have on Socrates.