This book has won the 2001 Best First Book Prize from the Foundations of Political Theory division of the American Political Science Association. The citation reads as follows:
In Plato's Democratic Entanglements, Sara Monoson uncovers and explores the connection between "two things usually viewed as thoroughly opposed - Plato's thought and Athenian democratic ideals and practices." To inform her inquiry, she draws upon her extensive knowledge of two bodies of recent scholarship: the literature in classics and political theory that reaches beyond the level of specifically governmental institutions to examine the civic practices and norms of Athenian democracy: and the literature on Plato that examines his philosophic practices and his involvement with the political life of his city.
Although fully cognizant of the antidemocratic features of Plato's thought, Monoson provides us with a more complex and nuanced account of the interaction between Plato's ideals of philosophic practice and the civic practices and ideals of democratic Athens. In particular, she shows the parallels between Plato's conception of the philosopher and the Athenian conception of the good democratic citizen - as lovers of the polis, as frank speakers, and as adherents of norms of deliberativeness and reciprocity.
Monoson's erudite analysis adds significant new dimensions and insights to a venerable scholarly debate and problematicizes overly simple understandings of Plato's political ideals, of Athenian practices, and of the standards for democratic citizenship. This book, in the words of Arlene Saxonhouse, "fully succeeds in bringing Plato into our conversations about democracy." It will reward the attention of all those classicists, philosophers, and political theorists interested in the issues she addresses.
Yikes, Plato uncovered! May I suggest that you and your most educated friends buy the book for those meaningful latenight exchanges around residual b-b-q light. What else can you ask of a political text?