The Trial of Socrates is an excellent reminder of the happenings during the period in which Socrates lived and died. Author I.F. Stone provides a historical story of the events leading up to the trial, as well as the trial itself, through the writings of Xenophon and Plato, as well as several other sources. In addition to the historical aspects, the writer gives his personal interpretations of certain events with great detail and support. From cover to cover, the book provides an excellent background for one to determine exactly what they believe happened before, during, and after the trial of Socrates. .
Through careful reading of this book, one learns much about the democracy and popular political viewpoints that existed during this time. Athens was a democratic city with much pride in their freedom, especially their freedom of speech. Socrates was a political philosopher who did not agree with these freedoms provided by the Athenic democracy. However, it is his trial in which both the democracy of Athens and Socrates himself show their hypocrisy. It is this hypocrisy that makes the trial and death of Socrates quite ironic. .
In order for one to understand the hypocrisy involved, one must first understand the so-called beliefs of Socrates and the democratic government. In order for the reader to grasp the concepts involved, the first half of the book focuses on the values and beliefs of both Socrates and Athens itself. Through comparing and contrasting of their beliefs (mostly contrasting, I should add), the author does an excellent job in providing the background needed in order for the reader to understand the concepts involved during the trial. It is these concepts that allows the reader to draw one's own conclusion concerning the rights and wrongs that occurred in the events dealt with throughout the book. .
Athens, the city in which Socrates resided, was a free democratic city, a polis, that was governed by all citizens in a fair democracy.