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Publisher's Summary

Just a century after it had begun, philosophy entered its greatest age with the appearance of Socrates, who spent so much of his time talking about philosophy on the streets of Athens that he never got around to writing anything down. His method of aggressive questioning, called dialectic, was the forerunner of logic; he used it to cut through the twaddle of his adversaries and arrive at the truth. Rather than questioning the world, he believed, we would be better off questioning ourselves. Socrates placed philosophy on the sound basis of reason. He saw the world as not accessible to our senses, only to thought. Finally, charged with impiety and the corruption of youth, he was tried and sentenced to death, and ended his life by drinking the judicial hemlock.

In Socrates in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Socrates' life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Socrates' work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Socrates within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©1997 Paul Strathern (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about Socrates in 90 Minutes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I thought it was OK

This really was a crash course on Socrates. Some poignant facts about him that you can use if you were to be asked any light questions about him but certainly not anything that you can per chance lord over anyone's head with your in dept knowledge. I like how it was brought across by the narrator and I sincerely found sections where I really did laugh out as a result of the Narrator's description and side quip at Socrates himself, minute 29 made me fall off my chair when I heard it and I literally had to call, have my sister purchase the book so we could share in a vicious laughing fit (pauses from writing the review and gives the section a second listen to see if I got the same effect... Yup... Still laughing fit)! If you want real and in dept information on Socrates and Philosophy, I would say pass, if you want a light listen with some quick information on these topics.... take a listen!

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I think I'll try another series

There are few deficiencies in this book. First the author has a strict naturalistic presupposition and simply dismisses as wrong the philosophers who ponder the metaphysical. Secondly, the social and political climate could have been more elucidated.We always need to know to what problem the philosophers was responding. Also, there seems to be a strained bent towards homosexuality with statements such as this was quite normal before the advent of Christianity. Likewise, this is also shown in the telling of a story of Socrates being seduced but not giving in to a "fine specimen" of a man. ("How could he resist!") How that story illuminated Socrates work and life I do not know. There are a few positive points such as the author's effort in not making philosophy too dry and the inclusion of some humor. I also learned a few things about some other Greek thinkers of that time. Not a terrible book but I think I'll try another series.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent series

Engaging if your interested in the subject, expands into historical context and both predecessors and contemporaries. What’s true for this “in 90 min” is true of the series. For anyone home schooling, or for students working on a report this is 90 min well spent.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very biased

This book perpetuates the standard western philosophical narrative. It's adequate, but much of the opinionated language around the history presented highlights the dubious and generalized nature of many of its claims. Ultimately it's not a critical or nuanced view.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good intro to Socrates

it's included in the audible subscription so if you're reading this review stop and just go listen to it, it's worth your time. also I recommend 1.25x speed, fast but not too fast!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Superficial, more snarky than humorous.

A very superficial overview, not really a scholarly or even particularly interesting piece. Also pretty culturally inept. He makes a big point about how the Greeks were “the very first humans” to consider philosophy (circa 500 BC) and then throws in a single line about how they were probably influenced by the Indian concept of maya...completely ignoring how they could be influenced by a philosophical tradition several hundreds of years older and still be “the very first” philosophers on earth. Very parochial. Does have a few interesting anecdotes about Socrates, but overall a waste of time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BC
  • 05-02-21

Quick and Full of Info

Socrates never wrote anything down, so knowing or understanding him is almost impossible. There are written accounts of his life, most notably from Plato, but he is still a mystery. For someone who affected so much, to not know almost any facts are certain would seem almost impossible. To go back and meet him would probably be incredible (or disappointing?).

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

atheistic superior view point

Author Puts down esoteric Philosophies such as God, soul, infinity and maya ot reality = illusion/vr

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Socrates in 90 Minutes

I thoroughly enjoyed this narration of Socrates’ life. I learned many new things about his death. Thank you.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Nice short biography

Loved the history, Like the short described sources.

After all the biography, timeline bringing Socretes in today's prospective is novel.