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The City and Man

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  198 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The City and Man consists of provocative essays by the late Leo Strauss on Aristotle's Politics, Plato's Republic, and Thucydides' Peloponnesian Wars. Together, the essays constitute a brilliant attempt to use classical political philosophy as a means of liberating modern political philosophy from the stranglehold of ideology. The essays are based on a long and intimate fa ...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published November 15th 1978 by University Of Chicago Press (first published November 1964)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  198 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Deep Thinkers
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 fol
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Good essays on Thucydides and on Aristotle. Strauss offers up some rather subtle points about the ideal of the polis and about Thucydides' vision of human fate and human frailty. Not so taken with the essay on Plato, but the book is worth reading when thinking the origin of the idea of what we call politics...
Zach Mazlish
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wish I'd read the texts he was analyzing more recently, but nonetheless found this a fascinating and compelling read. The biggest thing he does a good job of is bringing out the stakes of these texts, and presenting the fundamental tensions they are pre-occupied with. I need to read more competing interpretations because his seem so convincing and incontrovertible in the flow of reading them. Also need to read something he actually wrote rather than just lecture transcriptions to see how it diff ...more
Not my preferred style of writing, too roundabout.
However, has some good analysis and viewpoints.
Aaron Crofut
It's like Faulkner decided to write a book on political philosophy. There are a couple of themes that keep popping up across the three essays, but not enough to provide a coherent point to the book. Each essay on ancient Greek books (Aristotle's Politics, Plato's Republic, and Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War) is worth reading for the insightful comments on each particular book, but even they wander all over the place.

I couldn't sum this book up if I wanted to. It may be a flaw in m
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At first blush the pairing of an essay on Thucydides' Peloponnesian War with ones on Aristotle's Politics and Plato's Republic might seem a bit odd, but it's both brilliant and quite purposeful. Each essay is excellent on its own, while the combination allows Strauss to present perspectives on classical political thought that wouldn't be possible if he limited the subjects strictly to political philosophy. There's a lot of food for thought in these dense 240 pages.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book, which is based on a set of lectures given by the author at the University of Virginia in 1962, represents a solid overview of some of the political works of Plato, Aristotle, and Thucydides. It is unique in that it the author's exposure to the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger rubs off on the text. My favorite part, a cogent discussion of the City-Soul analogy in Plato's Republic, begins on page 91.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A grand analysis of Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, and Thucydides's Histories. Noteworthy is his contention that Plato wasn't reactionary, but instead viewed democracy as the best regime for philosophers to live in.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The question of the conflict between the justice of money making and justice of medicine as Strauss puts it is to me the most important and urgent moral question of one's living in this secular world. I expect to think about this question deeper and find more books to read.
Alex Bloom
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
As with many of Strauss's writings, "The City and Man" offers a little bit of commentary on the ancients with a lot of Strauss's own ideas tucked in.
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Great reading of the Republic.
Nov 12, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Intro to Part 2, as one of Four Beginning, Though Difficult, Books by Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin.
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Leo Strauss was a German-American philosopher and philologist of ancient Greek text. In his early years studying in Germany he acquainted himself with seminal German thinkers of the 20th century such as Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl and Ernst Cassirer. As a person of Jewish ancestry, Strauss fled to the United States during the rule of Third Reich and taught at the University of Chicago. There, ...more
“The proper work of a writing is truly to talk, or to reveal the truth, to some while leading others to salutary opinions; the proper work of a writing is to arouse to thinking those who are by nature fit for it; the good writing achieves its end if the reader considers carefully the ‘logographic necessity’ of every part, however small or seemingly insignificant, of the writing.” 1 likes
“Every human being and every society is what it is by virtue of the highest to which it looks up. The city, if it is healthy, looks up, not to the laws which it can unmake as it made them, but to the unwritten laws, the divine law, the gods of the city. The city must transcend itself. ...the most important consideration concerns that which transcends the city or which is higher than the city; it does not concern things which are simply subordinate to the city.” 1 likes
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