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Politics: Antiquity and Its Legacy (Ancients and Moderns) Paperback – Bargain Price, January 18, 2010

ISBN-10: 0195380894

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Product Details

  • Series: Ancients and Moderns
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (January 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195380894
  • ASIN: B006Z38MTM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,943,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Kostas Vlassopoulos is a Lecturer in Greek History at The University of Nottingham.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Troutman on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This little (145 page) gem of a book on the impact of Greek and Roman political thought on modern politics is one of those rare books that suffers from being too short. Its four chapters each address a critical theme of ancient politics -- who should rule, the significance of the concept of liberty, what politics should look like (e.g., degree of conflict and participation) and the purpose of politics -- and then discusses how modern thinkers have been influenced by the ancients.

I tend to find books of this sort (that is, humanities essays trying to double as textbooks) prone to rambling, and this does indeed meander. (Its self-justification: "the relationship between ancient and modern political thought is complex and cannot be summarised with any simple statement.") Yet in this case, the lack of a nice linear structure from beginning to end isn't bothersome, to me at any rate, because (a) the book answered a number of semi-conscious nagging questions about western political thought that I had -- like how/why Sparta, which seems so totalitarian, was idealized by so many moderns -- and (b) the book makes insightful observations about the nature of modern politics.

A book like this seems at first blush to be very esoteric, assuming an audience interested in two tried-and-true humanities topics that don't overlap that much anymore. It might, then, appear to be preaching to a subset of the `humanities are important' choir. It doesn't, however, try to tell you what you already know but instead strengthen your understanding of how the study of the ancients has been overwhelmingly important to modern political history.

So what's missing: first, the use of modern in this book means modern in the broadest sense, starting from Machiavelli.
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