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The City and Man

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226777016
ISBN-10: 0226777014
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was born and educated in Germany, receiving his doctorate from Hamburg University in 1921. He came to the United States in 1938 and taught political science and philosophy at the New School for Social Research for a decade. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as professor of political philosophy in 1949 and was eventually named Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor. Among his many books are The Political Philosophy of Hobbes; Natural Right and History; and Thoughts on Machiavelli, all of which are available from the University of Chicago Press.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (November 15, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226777014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226777016
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Leo Strauss was generally uderstood to be an originator of the scholarly opinion that Plato wrote esoterically, and Plato's dialogue on justice, "The Republic" has an exoteric message (to the outsiders) and an esoteric message (to the insiders). In 'City and Man' Strauss carefully, elegantly, systematically crafts the arguement by comparing and contrasting a historian, a philospher and finally a poltical scientist. In this neat way of using real men's works, in their historical context, the careful reader can come to appreciate why it was necessary for Plato to write esoterically and why it is consistent with Justice, or say Nature. Easily, yet strikingly, Strauss leads one through the birth of political philosophy, as a political-philosophy, not as a philosophical study of things political. P.S. I love this book.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. Sasiain on September 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow. All I can say is "wow, what a read." For an author that seemingly dislikes the use of paragraphs, Strauss' books are in the small minority of dense reads that I find worth the time to struggle through. He is/was an extremely intelligent man who, fun for us, or maybe just fun for me, writes in code; Strauss' works are, as he may say, a "silent instruction." The City and Man is certainly no exception to this rule.

Don't like philosophical spoilers? Then stop reading this review because the following are, in my view, a few code breakers for interpreting this Straussian text. I'll keep it somewhat brief.

NOMOS: Nomos is conventional, relative truth; a fabricated, normative reality. Even when not explicitly using this word (i.e. the picture in a frame) Strauss is always talking about nomos within his tacit instruction (i.e. the frame around the picture). Through mental constructs, our perception is overlaid with the markings of cultural values, beliefs, ideals, nationalities, habits, lines of thinking, and ways of proceeding. Perception is distorted in accordance with conditioning. First there is a cognition, THEN a cognitive distortion. The `city' overwhelms `nature'. Personally, my ears perk up whenever someone uses the phrase "the real world."

NATURE: Awareness. Simple as that. Awareness precedes thought and hence can't be captured by the modality of thought and other mental phenomena. Before the advent of the city, our natural state (awareness) lies free of values and judgments -On a side note the contemplative practice of meditation may assist us in experientially seeing this. Moreover nature is the `whole', the whole phenomenal world that is. Reminiscent of eastern and Gnostic philosophies, we are the world and the world is us.
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108 of 155 people found the following review helpful By David H Miller on February 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The City and Man" consists of three lectures by the famed -- and controversial -- political theorist Leo Strauss: he offers commentaries on Aristotle's "Politics," on Plato's "Republic," and on Thucydides' "History of the Peloponnesian War."
Strauss, who was during his life an obscure professor at the University of Chicago, has recently achieved posthumous fame because a number of his alleged disciples, so-called "Straussians," were among the neoconservatives who conceived and implemented the recent disastrous American conquest of Iraq.
His writings have therefore acquired new interest because of the insight they may provide into the thinking of those who have attempted to create a new American imperium.
Strauss is renowned for his verbosity, for a bizarre numerological fixation on the ancient texts he studied, and for a belief in "esotericism" -- i.e., that the classic authors hid their real teachings in cryptic subtexts discernible only by the most probing of readers.
"The City and Man" definitely exhibits Strauss' verbosity -- it is appropriate bedtime reading only if one needs a cure for insomnia. There is, however, little evidence of Strauss' numerological fetish -- he does at one point allude to a certain numerical symmetry in the structure of Plato's "Republic" based on a two-one-two pattern in the number of Socrates' "interlocutors," but the point is of the sort that any literary critic might make.
And to the degree that Strauss attributes "esoteric" doctrines to his authors in this book, it is again such as any literary critic might suggest -- e.g., he repeatedly suggests that certain characters are intended to illustrate certain ideal types or that the presentation is structured so as to emphasize certain key themes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dale B Mortimer, M.D. on January 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very helpful, careful discussion of Aristotle's Politics, Plato's Republic and Thucydides' War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians. Great teacher. Infinitely patient with mere mortals. I miss him.
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