Dr. Thomson/Lit. (4th Quarter)


Stoic Paradoxes: A New Translation by Quintus Curtius ISBN: 978-1517559403

Toward the end of his consequential public life, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) prepared this concise study of what he saw as the six leading tenets of the Stoic school of philosophy (this edition also includes the important excerpt from his On the Commonwealth, “Scipio’s Dream”, which we will also examine).  Cicero is regarded as the greatest of Roman orators, a stout defender of the virtues of the Roman Republic  He famously translated many of the most significant works of Greek thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle into Latin, thereby becoming the very epitome of the term “Greco-Roman Civilization.”

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 2nd edition, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield.  (University of Chicago Press, 1998) ISBN: 9780226500447

Machiavelli’s manual of statecraft for a prince urges the imitation of Cesare Borgia, who never hesitated to ignore the moral code to keep himself in power.  Even in the late twentieth century, M. S. Gorbachev had it translated into Russian for himself.  Machiavelli was a diplomat, practicing an art actually developed by earlier Florentines and Venetians; this political craft is of course still essential in the international arena.

Winston S. Churchill, ed., Never Give In!  The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches.  (New York:  Hachette Books, 2015) ISBN: 9780786888702 

Without the magnificent leadership of Churchill, England would have surely surrendered to Hitler’s Third Reich; much of Europe already had by the time King George VI made him Prime Minister.  It is not an exaggeration to declare that more than any other individual, he deserves credit for saving Western Civilization.  His grandson here arrays many of his greatest speeches, which still inspire and evoke the greatness of England and America; he was the only person ever to be granted honorary US citizenship by an act of Congress.