robert woolston

Review of ‘City of Saints’

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Robert Woolston’s City of Saints, an exploration of stoicism and how it facilitated the development of the Christian religion, primarily Catholicism, is an ambitious book, perhaps a bit too ambitious. The author delves deeply into ancient Greek philosophy with discussions of the main stoic philosophers, moves on to show the link with the develop of Christianity, and then attempts to show how this philosophy can be applied to the 21st century.

An interesting look at a somewhat obscure, but nevertheless interesting subject, but a lot of rather dense prose with maybe more detail in the beginning than really needed, and not enough detail in the latter part of the book. Students of Greek philosophy probably won’t find anything new are startling in this book, and those unfamiliar with the topic will struggle to absorb the deluge of information the author provides.

Bottom line; this is a book that will appeal to some and not to others. I found it mildly interesting. I received a complimentary copy of the book. I give it three stars.

Review of ‘Box Office Philosophy’

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Most people watch movies or TV shows merely for the entertainment, but editors, Robert Woolston and Tom Bowers have dissected top-rated movies and TV series for their philosophical content. In Box Office Philosophy they look at the underlying philosophical concepts of several well-known and popular movies and TV shows, such as The Godfather and Seinfeld, showing how the authors or directors incorporated the philosophical tenets of such greats as Ayn Rand and many of the Greek philosophers.

You don’t have to be an intellectual to enjoy, or learn, from this book. Not only does it help you better understand such concepts as stoicism or consequentialism, but it will give you a better appreciation of the movie or show. How, for instance, does The Shawshank Redemption illustrate ancient stoicism, or Pulp Fiction showcase Aristotelian ethics? The editors do not go into whether or not the intent of any of these shows was to highlight philosophical principles, but just knowing that they were more than mindless entertainment is uplifting.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book, and I strongly recommend it.