• Socrates

  • A Man for Our Times
  • By: Paul Johnson
  • Narrated by: John Curless
  • Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

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Socrates  By  cover art

Socrates

By: Paul Johnson
Narrated by: John Curless
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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed historian and best-selling author Paul Johnson’s books have been translated into dozens of languages. In Socrates: A Man for Our Times, Johnson draws from little-known resources to construct a fascinating account of one of history’s greatest thinkers. Socrates transcended class limitations in Athens during the fifth century B.C. to develop ideas that still shape the way we think about the human body and soul, including the workings of the human mind.

©2011 Paul Johnson (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Socrates

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Plat-Soc-Paul

What was most disappointing about Paul Johnson’s story?

This isn't exactly an introduction, because much of what Johnson discusses will require prior knowledge and familiarity with Socrates and this period of Greek history. However, this work is nowhere near scholarly quality either. This can only be a review or refresher - yet it is a review of the author's highly biased ideas of what he wants Socrates to represent. The author's style is at once narcissistic, pompous, and vague.

Johnson rebukes Plato for using Socrates as a mouthpiece for his own ideas, yet does so himself ad nauseum throughout the entire book. Socrates in Johnson's hands is little more than a puppet used to validate Johnson's own ideology. Johnson's sycophantic rendering of Socrates is selective hero worship, not genuine scholarship.

Would you listen to another book narrated by John Curless?

The narrator is perfectly adequate to the task and the book is easy to listen to and can be absorbed in a single sitting because it lacks the kind of substance that would require rest and reflection.

Any additional comments?

Skip this drivel - check out Plato's Dialogues so that you can form your own ideas and come to your own conclusions about Socrates.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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top shelf in all respects .

will surely read more from this author. efficient and clearly explained . highly recommended to all who love the classics

1 person found this helpful

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A bit lacking....

While Paul Johnson does a good job at telling the reader about Socrates... it is not what Johnson said as much as what he omitted. There are only a handful of human beings in antiquity and hundreds of years post CE that warrant a sizeable or larger volume of information. Socrates is one. I did not look at length, amount of time it takes to read and so forth. " Note to self" , make sure coverage is thorough. Johnson does refer the reader to a better biography of Socrates in the 3rd chapter or so, highly encouraging the reader to follow up. I appreciate the narrator. He read what was written and I found myself secretly wishing, he read all of the books available on Audible and more. Too, author gives perspectives, such as Socrates' chosen tool for teaching, elaborates aptly on use of irony. He cites how oblivious the listener or student is, perhaps even confused with frequent ironic inserts. To answer a question with an unrelated but 100% applicable question or even asking the student, "what do you think?"intermittently, reminded me of several teachers in college, more. He cites all of the important Socrates graduates, importance of our acknowledgement. He focused on Socrates' virtue and his bottom line was just that. That ethical, moral and honesty were everything. So my problem? What did he eat? When did he learn sarcasm.. and use it. ? What did students enjoy? Ok. That's all from me.

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So so

Too much Greek history and not enough about Socrates. Still not a bad listening experience.

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Good analysis


The book is really good and provides a good analysis of Socrates mind and life. It makes great connection among his thoughts, modern philosophy, Christianity and other relevant aspects. My only point of the book is that in some parts it took too much focus on peripheral figures instead of Socrates. Finally another great book from Paul Johnson, my favorite biographer.

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History, context, and analysis: Great listen!

I love all of Johnson's books. This one gave me an understanding of what we know of Socrates. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a brief overview of the era, culture, his contemporaries, his life and death, his philosophy, and a masterly analysis of it all.

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Great Story About a Great Man

We all know the name Socrates, but often time we think philosophers are insufferable know-it-alls. Socrates was not. Although this book only generally touches upon his philosophy it does a great job in describing what sort of man Socrates was and the times he lived in. The author does a great job in making the information accessible and interesting and the narrator was excellent.