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Awesome Books

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
OK, Catherine Zuckert's Plato's Philosophers is a gigantic masterpiece. I've never seen anything like it. It's massively ambitious. She tries to tie together the entire Platonic corpus by going through the dialogues in dramatic order. She gets incredible stuff out of Philebus and Parmenides and Protagoras. She puts the Laws first (!!!!!). It will take me years to "get" this book if I ever do. I am bowled-over impressed.

Mark Blitz's (old prof of mine) Plato's Political Philosophy is more straightforward, less ambitious, probably more correct because "safer." I feel like I understand this book because I heard it all from Blitz's mouth already and I read his earlier book on the Statesman. This only covers Statesman/Republic/Laws, well trod ground by Leo Strauss. Still, it's excellent. Highly recommended.

Execellence Unleashed by Paul Rasmussen (never heard of him until now) is the first book length look at Machiavelli and Xenophon, my two favorite writers. Frankly, this pisses me off in that I could have written this book. Much of what he writes I in fact have written in papers for the APSA and in one published article. But I never pursued it all. He has done a very good job so no complaints, except against myself for being lazy.

Finally, those who follow classical lit will know of the "Landmark" series. These are big editions of the great Greek histories, with a wealth of maps and illustrations. They've done Herodotus, and Thucydides, and now they've done Xenophon's Hellenica. This is important because the only translation out there is the old Oxford version which sucks ass. This translation is not great but it's way better. And the maps, etc., are a huge help.

Merry Christmas!
post #2 of 9
Do you speak or read Greek or Latin?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I can read with a lexicon and a lot of time but to really study I need translations. I have all the loeb's to pick out words where necessary.

so, no.
post #4 of 9
Me neither, one of those dreams of mine I'd like to get around to realizing "someday." Reading ancient Greek is pretty much the ultimate smartypants feather in the cap.
post #5 of 9
Originally Posted by NorCal View Post

Me neither, one of those dreams of mine I'd like to get around to realizing "someday." Reading ancient Greek is pretty much the ultimate smartypants feather in the cap.

The culture which is supposed to plume itself on a smattering of Greek and Latin is a culture which is begotten by nothing so intellectual as curiosity; it is valued either out of sheer vanity and ignorance, or else as an engine of social and class distinction, separating its holder, like a badge or title, from other people who have not got it. teacha.gif
post #6 of 9
my wife can read latin pretty well, and greek (ancient) pretty well. its pretty cool. on the other hand, you can't really make a living out of it. she has a good friend who is a pretty well regarded expert on ancient greek poetry and has published extensivly on it, bugt still can't afford a nice car.

lesser books, but I read 1493 and the new colombus biography this week. I strongly recomend them, but really recomend reading 1491 and 1493. taken together, they are a great global picture of the world before and after colombus.
post #7 of 9

cheers, I'll keep an eye out for the Landmark The Histories -  caning for a map to those guys with heads in their chests.  

Many of the original books u mention have inspired for milllenia - e.g. 'O the ten thousand' one of M Antonius' favorite  expressions.  It boggles the mind that they still have the power to move us.

Not Greek, but I can recommend the recent Royal Shakespeare edition of the complete works-  there's a calf bound version with single columns that's easy to read + useful intro.

post #8 of 9
A Distant Mirror and That Sweet Enemy are pretty awesome books.
post #9 of 9
Malcolm X : A life of Reinvention, you guys probably heard of it before and how it totally changes and scraps most of the things in the autobiography... it's true. Awesome book, although the part of the autobiography in which Malcolm educates himself by reading the dictionary is far more inspirational.
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