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THE BEST BOOKS OF 1996 | BIOGRAPHY

December 29, 1996|WILLIAM VOLLMAN | William Vollman is the author of 10 books

This year I finally read Plato's "The Laws" (Penguin). Many, perhaps most, of his proposals I don't agree with, such as forbidding children the right to self-defense against their parents, or condemning falling boulders for murder if they land on somebody, but Plato manages to create an earnest and sympathetic whole, a consistent polity informed by the hopeful idealism of the "republic" while attempting to be practical. Most of all, he succeeds in elaborating an idea to the point of praxis, in contrast to modern American politicians with their sickening expediencies.

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