From the Book Cover


During the month between the conviction and the execution of the original teacher of wisdom (or philosopher) Socrates, these memoirs were dictated in the hope of correcting the “conventional wisdom” of history and the foolishness of Sophists as of 399 BCE with the knowledge and wisdom of the real man called Socrates.

The 24 centuries of human history that followed were irrevocably twisted by his one-time associate – the creatively dishonest dramatic genius Plato.

During the last 30 years of Socrates’ lifetime (and the first 30 of Plato’s), while the evermore “educated” (Big Government) Oligarchy thrived, the common citizen majority, the middle-class as they are now thought of, lost their property, their liberty and their lives.

From a generation before Socrates’ birth through the first 40 years of his real-world life, the common citizens of Athens rose from centuries of poverty and oppression to true liberty and the opportunity for personal wealth and glory in the greatest and freest political society of the then known western world. Athens and its Delian League in the 5th century BCE was the equivalent of, or better than, America of the 20th century – if one were a common citizen without inherited advantages (or other social “connections”).

What had preceded the decline in the formative 70 or more good years in Athens? And how did the generation-long decline occur?

Far more than the Peloponnesian War that Thucydides documented caused that decline.

Internal corruption proliferated as wealth and Sophisticated Higher Education (for the affluent Oligarchy) grew even before the Great War began. The socially prestigious Oligarchy re-acquired dominance and the common citizen majority were ground down into unthinking followers.

Sound familiar?

Socrates’ sarcastic memoirs reveal the tragic history of the internal decline of once-dominant Athenian culture, all told in a rational chronology of historical fact.



Additional Details


The very long version “About the Book” (and also “About the Author’) would require a lengthy explanation about each of the twenty-seven books that eventually (over the course of five decades) led to the author’s understanding of what is the most rational (or least imperfect) harmonization of the answers to the eternal two critical questions of politics and morals and social thought, namely, “What is good?” and “What is true?” in nature in general and most especially in human nature in particular. It certainly seems to have been the life-long (intellectual) quest of the real man called Socrates.

I do not claim to know the most rational harmonization of the answers to those critical questions for any of human nature–or even for the world in which Socrates lived his entire seventy-year existence. No one can rationally ever answer such questions!

But when one examines what is indisputably known about both Socrates and the history of the Athens in which he was first born in 469 BCE, then always lived in as a citizen, and finally was tried and executed, for “impiety” in 399 BCE (executed for a lifetime of politely speaking skeptically in public places, especially before impressionable adolescents and young adults), two great historic ironies scream out for attention.

  1. How could Athens (or maybe even 20th century America) rise to such supremely dominant wealth and power with such uncharacteristic freedom for the individual (in the words of Pericles: to live in our private lives exactly as we please) and then in one generation not only lose its dominance but also quickly thereafter its independent freedom, in 404 BCE?
  2. And how could a private citizen be tried and executed for merely courteously asking questions about “What is good?” and “What is true?” in human nature while out in public places, all in the only civilized (meaning governed under a real rule of law) political jurisdiction in the history of the world (both before and after) that operated for generations with 100% totally unfettered constitutionally guaranteed “Freedom of Speech?”

Furthermore, for over twenty-three centuries, serious philosophers have intermittently disputed what has been referred to as the “Socratic Problem.” That is because Plato in the preponderance of his most serious of all forty-seven dialogues universally uses a character called Socrates to represent what is rationally good and what is rationally true about human nature. Sometimes he implies it was the beliefs of the real man called Socrates. And sometimes the beliefs are more easily identifiable as purely those of Plato. Since many times this is less than perfectly clear, this has further compounded those two historic ironies, if only within the “Philosophy” department.

Authors of books that address either or both of such historic ironies (with or without reference to the “Socratic Problem”) always teach at or are otherwise associated with a major university with at least one PhD degree in some form of “classical studies” or “philosophy” or maybe even “classical history.” I have read a number of such books during my lifetime. Some are very enlightening in part, or, even occasionally, in whole.

Most are not. Most published material, as with most “free speech” (even by the better educated among us), is fundamentally what the British used to call “humbug.” Humbug means “nonsense or rubbish” in most dictionaries.

To me, as with the Socrates of my book “humbug” is always called “bullshit” or even “sophisticated bullshit” in daily private conversational speech.

My (informal and unofficial) “credentials” in writing this book are a combination of the critical intelligence I have developed over my seventy years coupled with the twenty-seven books whose consistently believable purported “knowledge” about human nature and history offers the best harmonization of the answers to those two critical questions that I have found during my lifelong “quest” (of reading for pure curiosity).

Those twenty-seven books (some of which extend to heavily footnoted multiple volumes) are listed below in the order (and approximate year or at least decade) in which the author first read each. Most have been reread multiple times. (We forget things from time to time–it’s part of being imperfectly human.)

(I also note the actual or approximate time in history when these books were first published.)

The list of these very special twenty-seven “enlightening” books follow. I heartily recommend reading and rereading every one if either of those two critical questions about human nature truly interest you the way they certainly did both Socrates and me in vastly different ways. (If not, and you still enjoy reading, there are many entertaining romance or adventure or mystery or fantasy or science-fiction or even sports books available. Except for the “romance” category, during my sixty-four years of reading, I’ve read lots of enjoyable books in all those categories–but virtually none of such publications for the last half of my life. There is very little left I still love reading about. (Fundamentally, free-will really does exist for you, me and everyone else, you know!)


Sources of Information


First Read by Author in Author and Title Date of Publication
1963 Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich 1959
1976 Churchill, Winston S. History of the English Speaking Peoples (4 volumes) 1958
1977 Pirsig, Robert. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 1974
1979 Durant, Will. The Rise of Greece 1939
1980’s Fuller, J. F. C. The Military History of Western Civilizations (3 volumes) 1954-1957
Solzhenitsyn, Alexsander. The Gulag Archipelago 1973
Johnson, Paul. Modern Times 1983
Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer 1953
Bok, Sissela. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life 1978
Popper, K. R. The Open Society and it’s Enemies (2 volumes) 1945
Russel, Bertrand History of Western Philosophy 1945
Reichenbach, Hans. Rise of Scientific Philosophy 1951
1989 Sowell, Thomas. A Conflict of Vision 1988
1990’s Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War c. 380-360 BCE
Herodotus. History of the World c. 445-440 BCE
Plutarch. Biographies of the Greeks and the Romans c. 150
Xenophon. Hellenica c. 380-360 BCE
Xenophon. Memorabilia and Trial of Socrates c. 380-360 BCE
Sealley, Raphael. History of the Greek City States to 338 BCE 1975
Plato. The Dialogs (47 dialogs) c. 380-347 BCE
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau mid-18th century
Popper, K. R. Poverty of Historicism 1957
Johnson, Paul. History of the Jews 1987
Price-Jones, David. The Closed Circle 1989
2000 Aristotle. The Athenian Constitution
(Rediscovered in late 19th century)
c. 333-322 BCE
2003 Klehr, Harvey, Haynes, John Earl and Firsov, Fridrikh Igorevich. The Secret World of American Communism 1995
2010 Grote, George. Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates
(4 volumes)
mid-19th century