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on July 27, 2000
Plato's Republic is unparalleled in its coverage of all areas of life. While Plato addresses metaphysical issues, he does so with language and analogies that most people can grasp with studious reading. But Plato talks about much more than metaphysics. Marriage, music, war, kings, procreation and more are all topics of discussion for Plato's dialog. In addition to the teachings about life, this book also offers a great introduction to philosophy. The famous "cave story" illustrates not only the purpose of philosophy, but also the inherent difficulties. While this book is absolutely necessary for students of philosophy and religion, I think there are golden truths for all people no matter what they do.
So, why this particular translation of the work? This translation offers the best ease in reading while mainting a tight grasp of the original Greek meanings of Plato's text. Besides, it isn't that expensive.
This book is clearly a timeless classic, and if you can't read classical Greek, this translation is probably the best you will get.
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on July 31, 2006
I won't waste time trying to summarize Plato's "The Republic". Most people (I would guess nine out of ten) who have read this colussus of classical philosophy, read it because they were forced to by their college instructors. This is unfortunate because "The Republic" is a compelling and enduring philosophy of how life should be lived, how justice should be approached, and how leaders should lead.

What recommends this book, really, is the bargain price: under five bucks. As one of those college instructors who makes their students read this, I always recommend this edition. Sterling and Scott's translation is as good as anyone else's, so why not save my students a few bucks? And, if you're one of those one out of ten who is considering reading this on your own, you've only got five bucks to lose, but an awful lot of rewarding reading to gain!

Rocco Dormarunno

College of New Rochelle
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on July 5, 2008
I've been using the Oxford World's Classics edition of Republic for three years now to teach freshmen, and Waterfield's translation and endnotes are great. His choice to render dikaiosyne as "morality" rather than "justice" allows a range of discussion with American students that travels outside the courtroom and into the purpose of life and what translation means, and his crankiness in the endnotes (he talks about Plato as an old lover talks about his beloved) allows some great lessons about editorial practices and what's involved in the production of a scholarly edition.

Perhaps more important to my students than anything, this edition of Plato is right at ten bucks, a steal compared to their other textbooks and an invitation to mark up, use, and abuse the margins. I'm sitting at my desk, my battered copy of the 1998 printing sitting next to my keyboard, and I'm thinking that perhaps this fall I'll pick up a copy of this blue-sky beauty.
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on February 11, 2006
This translation, the Grube-Reeve, was recommended to me along with Bloom's. I chose this. It is very readable with chapter summaries by the author.

The physical quality of this edition was a bit of a dissapointment. Hackett puts out editions cheaper than most, but usually they are of better quality than this. The paper is one step from newsprint. Not awful, but I would have liked something better.
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on July 20, 2010
WARNING, BUYERS BEWARE: This edition of Plato's Republic by NABU Press is the worst kind of online entrepreneurial opportunism. It is a repackaging in ebook form of Benjamin Jowett's 1871 translation of the Republic, which is in the public domain and freely available all over the internet. So don't waste your money (and they want how much?!). If you want to read the Republic now, google Plato Republic text and find it any number of places (e.g. download the whole book from Google Books). If you want a good hard copy, look at Allan Bloom's or any number of real new translations over the last 30 years. Your public library probably has one or two of them also. But don't buy this edition: unless you just like throwing your money away and supporting people operating shady businesses.
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on October 20, 2001
In the "Republic," Plato may or may not have accomplished what he set out to do, which is to define justice and prove that it is superior to injustice, irregardless of either's consequences. However, what he DID do is set the foundation for over two thousand years of thought. Read this work slowly; within each of the seemingly-simple discussions there is a world of though to be discovered. Anyone with the least bit of background in philosophical readings can literally read page-by-page, discovering the sources of many of the greatest philosophers of all-time. The "Republic" is not so much a work of literature as it is an explosion of thought; a ten-book brainstorm of one of the greatest minds of all-time. By the work's end, whether or not you feel Socrates to have successfully answered Glaucon's challenge is almost irrelevant, for the argument will have already left your mind reeling.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 8, 2008
This review is of ISBN-10: 0-87220-136-8, Plato * Republic, translated by G.M.A. Grube and revised by C.D.C. Reeve.

I somehow made it through high school and college learning about Plato and Socrates without reading any full-length works. That's changing this spring as I'm taking a discussion-based class on Plato's Republic. This text was recommended by our instructor, and I can see why. The translation is not cumbersome by striving for sheer literalness, but instead seeks to capture the flavor of the discussions Socrates had with others that Plato as a youth observed.

Footnotes are provided to explain the occasional word that has a different classical than contemporary meaning -- and yet you can read each of the 10 books (chapters) that comprise this volume first without attending to the footnotes, then re-reading the books along with their footnotes.

After having seen what gifted vs. pedestrian translations can do to the vigor and beauty of classic works (Beowulf, the Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey come to mind), I can understand why Grube's translation is highly regarded. According to the scholar who performed the revision, no such work was called for until 20 years after publication (I am guessing to introduce more current English idiom and turn of phrase). The person who conducted the revision was encouraged to do so by the translator's family, which speaks to continuity.

Given its impact on Western philosophy and thought, the book may at first seem slender to you. Keep in mind that much of it is in the form of dialog -- presented for the most part without space-consuming "I said"s and "he said"s; clarity is preserved with paragraph indents. The brief italicized introductions to each book help ensure ready comprehension without spoonfeeding any philosophy.

The index and bibliography also are clear, well-presented and helpful. Note that the latter is toward the front of the book.

I applaud the price point; however, I think purchasers would have been better served by paying a buck more for better-quality paper stock. This is a book that cries out to be kept on one's bookshelf well past the completion of a particular class or a once-over reading. Unfortunately, the paper stock already suffers from read-through, even before being subjected to the pencil/pen jottings that many readers will be compelled to make. Those of you who tend to use a highlighter, I'd advise to do so with caution because the paper seems pretty absorbent.
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on August 20, 2008
This version of the Republic (translated by Tom Griffith) is pleasant and readable; it definitely has its moments and would probably be a good way to first encounter the dialogue. But do not use it for serious study, since the translation can be quite free and sometimes confusing. For instance, the word usually translated as "advantageous" (sumpheron) in Thrasymachus's argument is rendered as "good for." This is a nice attempt to capture the meaning in a natural way - but I personally wouldn't play around with the word "good" in a translation of the Republic.
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on February 25, 2010
Among all the translators of Plato's Republic who claim that their translations are intended to be readable, Robin Waterfield seems to be the only one to have truly fulfilled the pledge. His translation has demonstrated a simple belief that Plato meant for his Greek to be as readable and fluent as in an everyday conversation and that is exactly what Mr. Waterfield is doing with his modern English --- without assuming that there is a built-in difficulty in all the classic literatures. Because, he believes, "reading Plato should be easy; understanding Plato can be difficult." A rare combination of the knowledge of classic philosophy and the writing of children's fiction to his credit must have contributed to the admirable achievement of clarity and directness.

In addition to readability, Waterfield has also made a unique contribution by abandoning the traditional "ten books" design (which was not made by Plato himself anyway) and regrouped them into "fourteen chapters" following the natural flow of the internal arguments in the texts. It is therefore only too logical for him to give each of his fourteen chapters a title and a brief introduction, not only for convenience but also to provide an overall scope of the book, which is in fact the longest and most complicated of all Plato's dialogues. Of course, he has no need to give up the standard means of reference to passages in Plato and the reader still feels quite at home with the conventional setting started as early as in 1578. To an avid reader, this new translation in Oxford World's Classics is an invaluable addition to his existing collection, large or small.

One more point deserves our special admiration. While most translators think Republic is about justice in the sense of politics more or less, Waterfield alone chooses morality for the Greek word dikaiosone, which refers to something larger than justice and that "encompasses all the various virtues and is almost synonymous with virtue in general" (Aristotle Ethics). This intrinsic quality of justice does not, however, show up to give him support until in the last two Books (IX and X), or Chapters 12-14 in our case, where the issues of happiness, or unhappiness, and immortality of the soul are brought up. At this point Waterfield needs waste no time to prove that the book title Republic is rather inadequate, if not a misnomer, for being taken directly from the Greek word politeia, which means the public life of a community and has little or no apparent relationship to the idea of republicanism as we understand it today.
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on June 13, 2000
F. M. Cornford is possessed of the rare distinction among translator's of being not only a philologist but a celebrated historian and a deeply philosophical scholar. His English translations of Plato are unparalleled if only because he understands the subject matter better than any historian, and understands the language better than any philosopher. His work is consistently above par.
An eminently readable edition of a classic and essential text.
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