The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made
Author: Walter Isaacson
A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces the original best and brightest, leaders whose outsized personalities and actions brought order to postwar chaos: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt's special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation's most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Republic [Jowett translation]
Without doubt the greatest and most provocative work of political philosophy ever produced in the West, The Republic is here presented in the stately and melodious Jowett translation-a perfect mirror of the beauty of Plato's style.
Beginning as an inquiry into justice as it operates in individuals, The Republic soon becomes an inquiry into the problems of constructing the perfect state. Are the masses really qualified to choose virtuous leaders? Should the rulers of a state receive a special education to prepare them to exercise power virtuously? What should such an education consist of? Should artists who do not use their gifts in a morally responsible way still be allowed a place in society? The Republic's answers to these and related questions make up a utopian (or, perhaps, dystopian) program that challenges many of the modern world's most dearly held assumptions-and leads us to reexamine and better understand those assumptions.
Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.) was born into a wealthy and prominent family, and grew up during the conflict between Athens and the Peloponnesian states. The execution of his mentor, Socrates, in 399 B.C. on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young, necessitated Plato's leaving Athens. He traveled to Egypt as well as to southern Italy, where he became conversant with Pythagorean philosophy. Plato returned to Athens c. 387 B.C. and founded the Academy, an early forerunner of the modern university. Aristotle was among his students.
Griffith's answer to the question "Why another translation of The Republic?" is that most current translations do not follow the form of a conversation, which Griffith feels the dialog is intended to convey. His aim was to translate the Greek text as if it were a conversation, and he has succeeded admirably. The text does indeed flow like a conversation, with the entire back-and-forth interaction that such exchanges involve. A comparison of his renderings of Books I, VII (the allegory of the cave), and VIII (the discussion of the four forms of unjust regimes) with the same passages in the second edition of Allan Bloom's translation of The Republic (Basic Bks., 1991) shows that Griffith's translation is, on the whole, much smoother and in that sense a more comfortable "read." Consider, for example, the first sentence in Book VII. Bloom's translation reads: " `Next, then,' I said, `make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind.' " Here is Griffith's translation: " `If we're thinking about the effect of education--or the lack of it on our nature, there's another comparison we can make.' " Griffith's smoother style suggests that this new translation may find a greater audience than others have. Griffith has also written a very useful introduction that places the work in historical context and provides a glossary that will help readers identify individuals and places mentioned in the work. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.