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A Wolf in the City: Tyranny and the Tyrant in Plato's Republic

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2019.03.11 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Cinzia Arruzza, A Wolf in the City: Tyranny and the Tyrant in Plato's Republic, Oxford University Press, 2019, 296pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190678852. Reviewed by Richard Kraut, Northwestern University Plato's reflections in the Republic on democracy and tyranny, and the way the former can engender the latter, now seem, in the age of Trump, more pertinent than ever. Cinzia Aruzza's study is therefore especially welcome and rewarding. She does not herself mention Trump's presidency or the features he shares with our common conception of the tyrannical character type. But she links Plato's time to our own in her concluding chapter, which refers to "the modern phenomenon of Bonapartism" -- the manipulation of the anti-elitist sentiments of the public by charismatic and demagogic leaders. Plato's "psychopathology of the tyrannical leader," she observes, "could serve as the faithful psychological portrait of a number of contemporary tyrants" (253).

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