The Trial of Socrates (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
The trial of Socrates is an event which has puzzled historical scholars through the ages, with the troubling spectacle it raises calling into question the most basic precepts of Athenian democracy. How could a society which placed so high a value on freedom of speech and thought have brought to trial—and then executed—a seventy-year-old man who was one of its foremost philosophers and teachers? Although Athens continued as an intellectual center of the ancient world and Socrates’ ideas and teaching methods live on into the present day in the works of his followers, his death marked the end of that period in Greek history often referred to as the Golden Age.
In The Trial of Socrates, journalist I. F. Stone sets out to investigate the complex causes underlying the trial and its verdict. For many years one of the country’s leading independent journalists as well as the publisher of the respected newspaper I. F. Stone’s Weekly, Stone retired from his lifelong profession (except for occasional return forays as a book reviewer and columnist) in 1971, with the plan of devoting his remaining years to a study of freedom of thought throughout history. His choice was not a surprising one; although he had worked as a journalist since the age of fourteen, his field of study in college was philosophy, and he has been an outspoken defender of civil liberties throughout his career. Summing up his own philosophy, Stone notes in the book’s...
(The entire section is 1940 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
The Atlantic. CCLXI, January, 1988, p. 91.
Booklist. LXXXIV, February 1, 1988, p. 891.
Commentary. LXXXV, March, 1988, p. 72.
Kirkus Reviews. XLV, December 15, 1987, p. 1723.
Library Journal. CXII, December, 1987, p. 116.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. February 14, 1988, p. 2.
The Nation. CCXLVI, February 27, 1988, p. 274.
The New Republic. CXCVIII, March 28, 1988, p. 37.
The New York Review of Books. XXXV, March 31, 1988, p. 12.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIII, February 7, 1988, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXII, December 4, 1987, p. 60.
Time. CXXXI, January 25, 1988, p. 66.
The Times Literary Supplement. October 7, 1988, p. 1104.
The Washington Post Book World. XVIII, February 14, 1988, p. 1.
(The entire section is 82 words.)