A review of Allan Bloom’s translation of The Republic of Plato (360 B.C. original, 1967 translation, 1991 my copy)
(Rating 3 of 5)
I have to be honest, I rated this higher than I wanted because of what a historic book it is and its impact of Western Civilization. Yet I still rated low enough to cause myself some embarrassment. I try to remind myself that I am rating a translation as much as the original work, but I must confess I find philosophy to be such a bore that the whole thing was a chore for me to get through. I now understand while most college courses only have you read parts of it. Yes, there is that nice part about the cave and Socrates's thoughts on types of governments, however I found most of it to be just a rambling conversation that I often found hard to follow.
Allan Bloom has a good but long essay at the end that goes on for over a hundred pages. My only suggestion would have been to break the essay up into ten parts and feature them at the front of each of ten books that make up The Republic. That would have made it easier to follow. Not only would it allow the reader a better way to pace themselves but it also would enable them to focus on the important parts of each book.
When I was done I found myself thinking of the old Mark Twain quote, “A classic is a book that everyone wishes to have read but no one wants to read.”