A touchstone in Western debates about society and government, the Politics is Aristotle's classic work on the nature of political community. Here, he argues that people band together into political communities to secure a good and self-sufficient life. He discusses the merits and defects of various regimes or ways of organizing political communitydemocracy in particularand in the process examines such subjects as slavery, economics, the family, citizenship, justice, and revolution.
Peter Simpson offers a new translation of Aristotle's text from the ancient Greek. He renders the Politics into an English version that is accurate, readable, and in certain difficult passages, original. His innovative analytical division of the whole text, with headings and accompanying summaries, makes clear the progression and unity of the argumenta helpful feature for students or readers unfamiliar with Aristotle's studied brevity and often elliptical style. Books 7 and 8 are repositioneda move supported by Aristotle's own words and much scholarly opinionto restore the work's logical organization and coherence. Finally, Simpson places the Politics in its proper philosophical context by beginning the text with the last chapter of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, which he sees as an introduction to what follows.
The past few years have seen a spate of new translations of classic texts in philosophy, in part because of more complete texts on which to base the translations and in part because of a desire to render the texts in a more contemporary English. Simpson (classics and philosophy, CUNY) has produced a fresh and lively translation that is perhaps more logically ordered. He makes a strong case for rearranging the standard order of the books of the Politics to provide a sequence more in keeping with Aristotle's intentions, positioning Books 7 and 8 to follow Book 3. The text begins with a translation of Book 10, Chapter 9 of the Nicomachean Ethics, which Simpson argues is a precursor to the Politics. A comparison with standard translations, such as those of Jowett and Barker, indicates that Simpson put much effort into this version and clarified a number of points that earlier translations left unclear. An excellent addition to all academic and major public libraries.Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec