I. F. Stone, The Trial of Socrates

The Trial of Socrates by I.F. Stone My rating: 4 of 5 stars If the independent left-wing journalist I. F. Stone had lived to write this 1988 bestseller in 2019 instead, he might have expressed its thesis this way: Socrates was an alt-right troll redpilling young men with corrosive irony and anti-democratic sentiment; therefore, democratic … Continue reading I. F. Stone, The Trial of Socrates

Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life by Theodor W. Adorno My rating: 5 of 5 stars It helps to know that this 1951 book, an unclassifiable philosophical masterpiece consisting of 153 divisions ranging in length from the aphorism to the brief essay, was written largely in the light of Southern California. Adorno was a … Continue reading Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life

Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country

Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America by Richard M. Rorty My rating: 2 of 5 stars Richard Rorty is a Pragmatist philosopher: he believes that ideas and actions should be judged on their effects rather than their metaphysical or ontological status. Don't ask whether it's true, whatever "it" may be, ask only if … Continue reading Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country

Albert Camus, The Rebel

The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt by Albert Camus My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Rebel is Albert Camus's answer, written in 1951, to the painful question of why the human attempt to overcome oppression, to destroy all religiously and socially prescribed hierarchies, led instead to fascism, communism, imperialism, and the softer … Continue reading Albert Camus, The Rebel

Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law

Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation by Gillian Rose My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a posthumous 1996 essay collection by the British philosopher, who died of ovarian cancer in 1995 and is perhaps best known less for her philosophical corpus than for her stunning memoir, Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life … Continue reading Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law

Simone Weil, On the Abolition of All Political Parties

On the Abolition of All Political Parties by Simone Weil My rating: 3 of 5 stars If you'll allow me, dear reader, a self-indulgent preamble— Readers of my novella, The Ecstasy of Michaela, will notice a few lines from Simone Weil quoted as the heroine's reading material. This should not be mistaken for deep familiarity with … Continue reading Simone Weil, On the Abolition of All Political Parties