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Publisher's Summary

Philosophy for busy people. Listen to a succinct account of the philosophy of Foucault in just one hour.

The French philosopher Michel Foucault set about his task rather like a historian. After painstaking research, he concluded that knowledge and power were intimately related throughout history. He illustrated this central idea of his philosophy through studies of madness, sexuality, and discipline and punishment, arguing that there is no such thing as absolute truth, only different truths about reality at particular moments – truths that fulfil the needs of power.

This audiobook is an expert account of Foucault’s life and philosophical ideas – entertainingly written and is above all easy listening. Also included are selections from Foucault’s work, suggested further reading, and chronologies that place Foucault in the context of the broader scheme of philosophy.

©2013 Paul Strathern (P)2013 HarperCollins

Critic Reviews

”Well-written, clear and informed, they have a breezy wit about them . . .I find them hard to stop reading.” (New York Times)

”Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise” (Wall Street Journal)

”Each of these little books is witty and dramatic and creates a sense of time, place, and character . . . I cannot think of a better way to introduce oneself and one's friends to Western civilization.” (Boston Globe)

”A godsend in this era of the short attention span.” (New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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a nice primer...

a nice primer on Foucault for those who don't have the time or the will to dig in to his absurd depths.

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  • Joanna
  • 11-10-16

Interesting but...

It was an interesting introduction to Foucault's philosophy and there were a few interesting facts that I didn't know about but I was hoping for more philosophical substance, more explanations of main concepts. When he started wearing his turtle neck was of less importance to me but it was indeed a nice to know fact.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • A. S. Conio
  • 03-01-16

Withering putdowns

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who have an innate distaste for post-structuralism and an inner conservatism will enjoy this work. As will people who think that a text can be illuminated by preceding 30 minutes of biographical tittle tattle. Something completely at odds with Foucault's method.

What could Paul Strathern have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

been less dismissive of Foucault's immense contribution to the history of thought. Strathern plays lip service to but does really understand how much Foucault's work challenges Stratherns own implicit assumptions.

What didn’t you like about Jonathan Keeble’s performance?

Keeble manages to relay Strathern's pomposity rather well.

Any additional comments?

Strathern's withering put downs and outright dismissal of key ideas are not helpful to the newcomer to Foucault's ideas. Much more sympathetic accounts are available.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr J Wood
  • 04-07-14

A useful way to learn about Foucault

I found it very useful to hear about Foucault within the context of his own life, as this made a lot more of his philosophy make sense and stick with me. Learning about the chronology and bacjground of his life is also the very way Foucault thought ideas should be understoof, so it's very fitting!
I liked the author's style in that he expressed both a lot of respect for Foucault's ideas, but also wasn't afraid to present some of the pitfalls of them. I think he was very respectful even within his criticism, so it was easy to form my own opinions of his work without feeling too over-influenced by the author's views.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms Smyth
  • 08-21-18

Poor introduction to Foucault

The petty morally superior attitude of the author is very off-putting. He even tries to shame Foucault for his sex life!

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  • Mr. B. Arnold
  • 02-10-18

Superficial but enjoyable enough

I don’t feel like I learned much about Foucault, but it was a diverting enough 90 minutes. I feel the author seems to have the unfortunate opinion that sexuality is a trivial matter however, and even comes close to disparaging Foucault’s sexual preferences. If you’re after a very potted history of the man and the theme(s) of his work however this is absolutely fine.

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  • Lisa
  • 12-26-15

Very Good

Enjoyable and interesting biography of Foucault. Useful to hear insights into his life and work.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 11-04-15

An interesting introduction.

Well narrated and moves on quickly. Would be nice to have a bit more details on his thought and a bit less biography but does what it says on the tin... Philosophy in an hour (and a half...)

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Truman
  • 06-26-15

Extremely Useful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this title to anyone interested in developing an understanding key thinkers and ideas to determine how best to continue an effective research journey.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The book is a useful balance between biographical detail and key theory, therefore providing context for the ideas developed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KatyGulliver
  • 01-28-15

Good Starter text

A little confusing as to if something was his or another's idea due to reading exactly the words on the page ... it would be more clear in the book i think. good though I would have prefered more theory and less biography.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful