The Search for Atlantis
A History of Plato's Ideal State
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The Atlantis story remains one of the most haunting and enigmatic tales from antiquity, and one that still resonates very deeply with the modern imagination. But where did Atlantis come from, what was it like, and where did it go to?
Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in the fourth century BC. As he discusses the origins of life, the universe, and humanity, the great thinker puts forward a stunning description of Atlantis—an island paradise with an ideal society. But the Atlanteans soon degenerate and become imperialist aggressors: they choose to fight against antediluvian Athens, which heroically repels their mighty forces, before a cataclysmic natural disaster destroys the warring states.
Plato's dialogues appear remarkably prescient today. Not because they invite a search for a mysterious lost continent, but because of their warnings about the pernicious effects of wealth and power on a ruling class: Atlantis-style luxury, excess, corruption, and imperialism can lead only to decay and disaster. This ever-important tale should be prescribed reading for every political leader.
Plato’s tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history—or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?
Praise For The Search for Atlantis: A History of Plato's Ideal State…
— Wall Street Journal
"In addition to presenting assorted bizarre theories, Kershaw explores Greek and Egyptian mythology, Homeric works, and mid-fifth-century Athenian culture. He believes Plato's message is ‘a timeless one about the pernicious effects of wealth on the ruling class.’ A treasure trove of information for readers seduced by the drowned land."
— Kirkus Reviews
"A comprehensive debunking of the idea that Atlantis is an actual historical location. Readers interested in the classics will find this satisfying."
— Publishers Weekly
Pegasus Books, 9781681778594, 432pp.
Publication Date: October 2, 2018