Tyrants. A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. vii. + 254 pp. isbn: 9781107083059.Let me begin with the end of Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice and Terror by saying that I wholeheartedly, if admittedly somewhat selfishly, approve of Waller Newell’s prescription for how democracies can ‘defeat tyranny’: the ‘cure for tyranny lies in the canon of Great Books … Ambition cannot be removed from the human soul … It can only be reshaped by liberal education’ (p. 230). As someone who has chosen a career in liberal education, and specifically the ‘Great Books’ of the classical canon, I am inclined to be easily persuaded of the social value of these pursuits. Unfortunately, even this enticement is not sufficiently compelling within the context of Newell’s book, which is beset with a variety of structural and theoretical difficulties.It would be harsh to criticize a book for not being something it is not, and so it is important to note from the outset that Tyrants is a popular work, not an academic one. There are no references, and for a more scholarly discussion readers are referred to Newell’s Tyranny: A New Interpretation. This latter book seems
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: Apr 12, 2018
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