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The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow
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The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow (Socrates Fortlow #3)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Living in south central L.A., Socrates Fortlow is a sixty-year-old ex-convict still strong enough to kill men with his bare hands. Filled with profound guilt about his own crimes and disheartened by the chaos of the streets, Socrates calls together local people of all races and social stations and begins to conduct a Thinkers' Club, where all can discuss life's unanswerabl ...more
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Published September 29th 2009 by Basic Civitas Books (first published October 6th 2008)
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Wow. This feels like it might be the end of the Socrates Fortlow saga, and what a beautiful, amazing ending it is if this is the case.

More than any series of books I can think of, these three books by Walter Mosley show the growth of a man. The change that comes to Socrates as he grows and learns over the course of "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned", "Walkin' the Dog", and "The Right Mistake" is powerful. It also always feels natural, because he never forgets who he was in the process of be
Mosley, Walter. THE RIGHT MISTAKE. (2008). *. Mosley’s writing is definitely going downhill fast. Take this book. It features his character Socrates, a burly ex-con (murder and rape), who has taken it upon himself to educate his fellow man about morality and honor. To do this, he uses the Socratic method – constantly challenging their inherent beliefs that are normally bolstered by the neighborhood ethos. All well and good, but I’m wondering what audience Mosley was seeking for this book. It cou ...more
Walter Mosely is awesome-I've read most of his books and was truly saddened when EZ Rawlins dies..Anyway--not to worry-I found a new book in Mosely's Socrates Fortlow series. In the Right Mistake-great big,powerful,ex-con Fortlow-starts a community meeting house- in the 'hood of present day LA-By invitation-Socco amasses an extremely diverse Thursday night discussion group to talk about present day life as a minority in these US. The group includes a retired Social worker,an emerging female sing ...more
While I've read all of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlin's books, I had avoided the Socrates Forlow series. This is the third book in that series and reading it was a pure exercise in understanding the complexities of men and women who live outside of the mainstream of society. Socrates is nothing but a walking contradiction, a man who spent years in prison for rape and murder and who lived on the streets most of the time he wasn't in prison. Now he has a house and has pulled together people from disp ...more
Loved reading more about Socrates Fortlow, an ex-con now 27 years out of prison and his diverse and ecelectic group of friends. Socrates is troubled by the conditions on the streets and brings together this varied group of folks (a young felon, a gambler, a rabbi, a martial arts expert and others) for regular, no-holds-barred, philsophical discussions aimed at understanding each other and how to make the world a better place.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest foray into the fiction of Walter Mosle
Sometimes you run across a character you just click with, a character who becomes so real, so present, that he ceases to be a character and becomes, intead, your friend. Socrates Fortlow is such a character. The people who surround him are vivid and interesting. The situations and the resolutions are thought provoking. Socrates has a self-awareness and down-to-earth attituded you seldom find in anyone--real or written.

After finishing "Walkin the Dog" I missed him. Terribly. I am so excited to v
June Ahern
Philosophically soulful is how I read Walter Mosely's "The Right Mistake." Although I have read a few of Mr. Mosely's book, I hadn't read what I understand to be, the series of Socrates Fortlow until now. As usual I found him, along with other characters, intense, real-to-life. If a person hasn't been down in the "hood", or is familiar with those incarcerated or criminals, he or she might not truly find how this is life on that side of town. I could see, hear and feel the characters having known ...more
Oh, man. I really, really liked this. Mosley explores complicated questions of race, class, violence, police brutality, social justice, love and community through the life and musings of Socrates Fortlow. It'd be a hands down five-star if it weren't for the persistent sexism that I've found permeates most of Mosley's work. But still, I pretty much loved this. Recommended!!
Always Out-numbered, Always Out-gunned/Walkin' the Dog/ The Right Mistake are all Socrates Fortlow stories. Can't go wrong on any of them. This guy turned his life around 180 degrees.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Lawrence
I started reading Socrates Fortlow series when I came across a remaindered copy of Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. I was taken by the character of Socrates, a ex-con murderer trying to find his way in the world of the free man. Although novelistic the books are really a series of short stories that build a narrative about the construction of a good man from nothing. Each story takes on a parable like profundity about humanity. They are full of love and redemption despite the temptations, f ...more
Scott Woods
Mosley churns out 2-3 books a year and unfortunately the wear and tear on his imagination is beginning to show. The one concept of his that hadn't seemed to jump the shark was his Socrates Fortlow series, featuring a wise ex-con living in the street of L.A.

I love this character, his world and the stories Mosley has traditionally applied to them. A little of the magic has worn off in this third installment, but not enough to stay away. The book looks like it maintains the short-story-collection c
Dustin Wax
A longer and more in-depth journey into the life and psyche of Mosley's Socrates Fortlow than his earlier collections of short stories, but somehow less satisfying. THe Right Mistake reads more like a man living a political manifesto -- one of Mosley's political manifesto's, actually -- than like a man living a troubled, flawed, imperfect life with meaning and purpose. Some of Mosley's moves have become predictable by now, like the white woman throwing herself at Socrates, turned on by his power ...more
Dustin Wax
A longer and more in-depth journey into the life and psyche of Mosley's Socrates Fortlow than his earlier collections of short stories, but somehow less satisfying. THe Right Mistake reads more like a man living a political manifesto -- one of Mosley's political manifesto's, actually -- than like a man living a troubled, flawed, imperfect life with meaning and purpose. Some of Mosley's moves have become predictable by now, like the white woman throwing herself at Socrates, turned on by his power ...more
After reading "Always Outnumbered" (excellent book) and "Walkin the Dog" (another triumph) I am a bit dismayed when I say that I didn't really care for this book. The action was slow, the plot was flat and simplistic, and the characters were dull and uninteresting. After the first 50 pages I wasn't really interested in Socrates' Thinkers Club anymore, I was wondering why, after two books, Walter Mosley still hangs on to the Socrates fable he's played on since the beginning of the trilogy. Couldn ...more
Socrates Fortlow is an ex-con, whose brutal violence earned him decades in prison. Now free, he has somehow become redeemed and he established a Thinkers Club in which people from all walks of Los Angeles life get together to discuss poverty, fidelity, honor, race. . .

And as people begin to talk honestly, they begin to trust each other. While they may not solve the world's problems, they begin to improve their own lives.
What if that were all it took? Engaging, listening, moving away from label
Homewood Public Library
The novel is another in the Socrates Fortlow series. Like the others it is set in California. Socrates is still dispensing wisdom and trying to stay afloat.

This time he decides to start a think tank, however, this think tank won’t be one of those high fluting government sponsored tanks. No expensive suits, no one with four or five degrees behind their name, no one squirreled away out of the public eye. This think tank will involve everyday people. To start there’s a cook, gambler, suspected murd
I will read most anything by Walter Mosley. I think he is up there in the genius class. As far as reflecting my interests: race and class and prisons, and men and women's relationships. That said I found this book - dare I say it - simplistic. Simplistic in the sense of a tale, or a fable. He did that with another book I read.
I would need to go back and read up on who Socrates is/was in history to be able to appreciate more fully, this character, Socrates Fortlow.
However, simplistic fables are
Socrates Fortlow is an ex-con, served his time for raping and killing a woman and killing her boyfriend. He's nearing 60 and finally becoming a man, a man at peace with himself. He starts a philosophers' club and this book explores the conversations between the various participants, all folks who live in LA and participate in the complicated life of blacks. It's raw and strong, like Socrates himself. He's not afraid of killing someone but love is another story. The iceberg is starting to melt. M ...more
I feel like this was an important book, but it wasn't a good book. I'm happy I read it and I feel wiser in some ways but I didn't enjoy it or feel compelled by the story. It's really more of a long allegory where the scenes and supporting characters only seem to exist so that the main character, Socrates Fortlow, can express an idea of Mosley's. The editing is sloppy. There are a few typos and a scene where Mosley begins by making a point of a character's absence. Then a couple pages later, the ...more
Walter Mosley’s body of work is remarkable. He has created three outstanding characters in the African American world--Easy Rawlins, Leonid McGill and Socrates Fortlow. Each with a different voice, but dealing with the real life issues a man of color faces in majority white America. This latest in the Socrates Fortlow series finds former convict Socrates organizing a community discussion group visited by a wide range of thinking people from all walks of life. Sounds a bit dry, but the book is po ...more
Wow! I really enjoyed the other Socrates Fortlow books, but this was even better. Mosley addresses race and class issues in the U.S. using what should be the post unsympathetic character -- a man who had spent almost thirty years in jail for murder and rape. Mosley's presentation of the book through Fortlow's actions, dreams, and conversations (especially with the young man he unofficially adopts) doesn't allow the reader to see Fortlow as the monster he claims he sometimes claims to be. Rather ...more
Walter Mosley always manages to make me think outside the box, whether he's writing about Socrates Fortlow, Fearless Jones or any of his other myriad characters. This narrative about Socrates makes you think about how you treat people. Do you form an opinion of them based on their past, their education, where they live, what they do for a living or do you just take them at face value and make the time to really get to know who they are as an individual? Socrates gives what might be considered by ...more
Pat Norwine
Generally I love Walter Mosley's books - especially Easy Rawlins' mysteries. This is my first book about Socrates Fortlow and it will probably be my last. It wasn't a page turner. In fact, I read two other books while trying to finish this book. In the end I decided it just wasn't worth my time to finish it. Keep those Easy Rawlins stories coming.
I loved the book! It is not simply shown how there is prejudice against black people or immigrants in general, but also shows how even among thenselves there can be a sense of distrust. Because of this I think this is a truly powerful narrative. One which does not turn into mere fingerpointing because of that showing of prejudices and misconceptions on both sides. Socrates reminded me of a friend of mine and reading the book I couldn't help but feel proud everytime he acomplished something becau ...more
I didn't realize this was part of a series until I'd already started, but I think it was okay even reading it alone. Socrates is a very interesting individual and the conversations that he inspired really gave me a lot to think about. It was especially interesting when they began to discuss racial diversity.
Gerald Kinro
Socrates Fortlow is a tough, sixty-year-old ex-convict living in south central Los Angeles. Plagued by crimes he committed in his younger days, he forms the Thinkers Club made up of different races, and backgrounds and occupations to discuss life’s and the area’s problems. It is a difficult go, as they are infiltrated by undercover policemen. Still, Socrates and his group make a diference a little at a time.

Mosley, as usual, creates interesting characters. It is worth the read but for me, is no
Barbara Villegas
FABULOUS! I love this new (to me) character by Mr. Mosley. I have enjoyed other books by this author, but not nearly as much as I love Socrates. Well developed plot with a few glitches in time line. I hope this series goes long.
I always like Walter Mosley books, and the Socrates Fortlow series have been my favorites of his works. This one is using Socrates as a springboard for Mosley's bigger philosophical concerns about race, personal moral responsibility in the face of oppression, and other issues about tolerance and violence. Mosley ALWAYS tells a good story, but I do wish he'd move away from the male fantasies about sex! My husband objected to the overdone "ebonics" that everyone is speaking, and I do sometimes won ...more
(I may have told you that) Socrates Fortlow, the former murderer/rapist who, having "paid his debt to society," yet sees himself as evil, is one of my favorite characters of all time. This installment of his stories finds him creating The Big Nickel, a place which begins as a forum for "philosophical investigations" and ends as a catalyst community r/evolution. These stories are a tad self-serving (for one thing, 60-something Socco ends up with a hot, doting 20-something girlfriend), but, even w ...more
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Socrates Fortlow (3 books)
  • Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
  • Walkin' the Dog
Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1) The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4) Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9) Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

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