03 January 2010

Book: Athens on Trial

Still in print is Jennifer Tolbert Roberts' "Athens on Trial: The Antidemocratic Tradition in Western Thought" (Princeton University Press, 1994):


Publisher's description: "The Classical Athenians were the first to articulate and implement the notion that ordinary citizens of no particular affluence or education could make responsible political decisions. For this reason, reactions to Athenian democracy have long provided a prime Rorschach test for political thought. Whether praising Athens's government as the legitimizing ancestor of modern democracies or condemning it as mob rule, commentators throughout history have revealed much about their own notions of politics and society. In this book, Jennifer Roberts charts responses to Athenian democracy from Athens itself through the twentieth century, exploring a debate that touches upon historiography, ethics, political science, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, gender studies, and educational theory."

Reviews: "Roberts has given us an excellent study of [the Athenian] legacy... Athens on Trial deserves praise both for its conception and its execution." (Eric W. Robinson, "Bryn Mawr Classical Review")

"[S]he succeeds in convincing the reader of her thesis through the impressive, almost breathtaking wealth of detail she supplies for each period. Her knowledge is both wide and deep [...]." (Leon H. Brody, "Library Journal")

Jennifer Tolbert Roberts is Professor of Classics and History at the City University of New York (CUNY). At the time of writing this book, she was on the faculty of Southern Methodist University.

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