100 books like Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Marianne Cowan (translator),

Here are 100 books that Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks fans have personally recommended if you like Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times

Barry Sandywell Author Of Logological Investigations, Volume 1: Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason

From my list on the beginnings of European theorizing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis on questions of culture and on work in the field of visual culture. Recently these have included Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook of international scholars to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. My own position can be found in my Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms.

Barry's book list on the beginnings of European theorizing

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

If Gadamer is an important guide to the hermeneutics of beginnings and the spirit of theorizing, Thomas Martin’s work is one of the most concise, readable, and comprehensive introductions to the social history of ancient Greece and the spiritual origins of Western culture. While there are many fine histories of the period, this book provides access to the whole sweep of Greek history from the beginnings of Hellenic civilization in Indo-European and Mycenaean cultures, to the Archaic age, the beginnings of democracy with the age of the city-state, the collapse of the Athenian Empire at the end of the Peloponnesian War, and the rise of Hellenistic Greece and the Hellenistic kingdoms that led to the hegemony of Rome and Latin culture. The work is an exemplary form of what I would call 'configurational’ history as his narrative interweaves military, political, religious, and social history with detailed discussion of the realm…

By Thomas R. Martin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ancient Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This compact yet comprehensive history brings ancient Greek civilization alive, from its Stone Age roots to the fourth century B.C.

"A highly readable account of ancient Greece."-Kirkus Reviews

Focusing on the development of the Greek city-state and the society, culture, and architecture of Athens in its Golden Age, Thomas R. Martin integrates political, military, social, and cultural history in a book that will appeal to students and general readers alike. Now in its second edition, this classic work now features new maps and illustrations, a new introduction, and updates throughout. "A limpidly written, highly accessible, and comprehensive history of Greece…


Book cover of The Presocratic Philosophers

Barry Sandywell Author Of Logological Investigations, Volume 1: Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason

From my list on the beginnings of European theorizing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis on questions of culture and on work in the field of visual culture. Recently these have included Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook of international scholars to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. My own position can be found in my Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms.

Barry's book list on the beginnings of European theorizing

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

The Kirk and Raven translation of the Presocratic Philosophers was one of the first anthologies in English to cover the beginnings of speculation and philosophical discourse in early Greek culture. It essentially made the thought of the Presocratics available to me and, on a broader scale, to an English-speaking audience (drawing upon the German text of Hermann Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker and later editions edited by Walther Kranz (known to scholars as `Diels-Kranz’). While Kirk & Raven has been revised and edited by others it remains for me the first `path’ into ancient Greek thought (and thereby, to ways of thinking about the beginnings of theorizing and philosophy).

In terms of substance the work explores the transition from mythic traditions (Hesiod, Pherecydes, etc.) and Homeric poetry to the Ionian thinkers (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Heraclitus), the radical monistic ontology of the Italian Schools (Pythagoras, Alcmaeon, Parmenides, Zeno, Melissus, and…

By G.S. Kirk, J.E. Raven, M. Schofield

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Presocratic Philosophers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beginning with a long and extensively rewritten introduction surveying the predecessors of the Presocratics, this book traces the intellectual revolution initiated by Thales in the sixth century BC to its culmination in the metaphysics of Parmenides and the complex physical theories of Anaxagoras and the Atomists in the fifth century it is based on a selection of some six hundred texts, in Greek and a close English translation which in this edition is given more prominence. These provide the basis for a detailed critical study of the principal individual thinkers of the time. Besides serving as an essential text for…


Book cover of The Beginning of Philosophy

Barry Sandywell Author Of Logological Investigations, Volume 1: Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason

From my list on the beginnings of European theorizing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis on questions of culture and on work in the field of visual culture. Recently these have included Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook of international scholars to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. My own position can be found in my Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms.

Barry's book list on the beginnings of European theorizing

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

As a student of both sociology and philosophy I was profoundly influenced by the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Alfred Schutz, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and others. One of these inspiring 'others’ was Hans-Georg Gadamer who promoted a radically interpretive or `hermeneutic’ approach to philosophical issues. While his major work is Truth and Method this collection of essays concerns itself with origins and 'beginnings,’ inviting readers to enter a dialogue with some of the key figures and problematics of Greek and thereby of Western European thought and culture. Plato was Gadamer’s great love and Gadamer rejects Heidegger’s reading of the Platonic Dialogues as the first phase of Western metaphysics and commends a reading of Platonic and Aristotelian thought as a spirited rejection of dogmatic thinking and a path toward a dialogical vision of thought and inquiry.

By Hans-Georg Gadamer, Rod Coltman (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beginning of Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Beginning of Philosophy Gadamer explores the layers of interpretation and misinterpretation that have built up over 2500 years of Presocratic scholarship. Using Plato and Aristotle as his starting point his analysis moves effortlessly from Simplicius and Diogenes Laertius to the 19th-century German historicists right through to Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger. Gadamer shows us how some of the earliest philosophical concepts such as truth, equality, nature, spirit and being came to be and how our understanding of them today is deeply indebted to Presocratic thinkers. The book is based on a series of lectures delivered by Gadamer in 1967…


Book cover of The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

Barry Sandywell Author Of Logological Investigations, Volume 1: Reflexivity and the Crisis of Western Reason

From my list on the beginnings of European theorizing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm currently an Honorary Fellow in Social Theory at the University of York, U.K. For more than five decades I've been working to promote more reflexive perspectives in philosophy, sociology, social theory, and sociological research. I've written and edited many books in the field of social theory with particular emphasis on questions of culture and on work in the field of visual culture. Recently these have included Interpreting Visual Culture (with Ian Heywood), The Handbook of Visual Culture, and an edited multi-volume textbook of international scholars to be published by Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture. My own position can be found in my Dictionary of Visual Discourse: A Dialectical Lexicon of Terms.

Barry's book list on the beginnings of European theorizing

Barry Sandywell Why did Barry love this book?

Collins’ remarkable book is resolutely sociological and global. This path-breaking work formulates questions about the origins of thought and philosophical reflection in a comparative perspective. Avoiding traditional forms of Eurocentrism, Collins locates the Presocratic and Post-Socratic thinkers in social networks of groups and schools and the creative innovations of these schools are situated in a broader historical study of intellectual communities that include Ancient China, Ancient India, and Japan, and in a more recent context the interweaving constellations of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic thought. The work concludes with detailed analyses of the intellectual networks of early modern and modern philosophy (including the Vienna Circle, Analytic Philosophy, Wittgenstein, Phenomenology, Existentialism, and beyond). This work remains one of the great attempts of a social theorist to map the major currents of world thought and intellectual culture. The task first broached by Collins—to reconstruct the global social, political, military, and intellectual contexts…

By Randall Collins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sociology of Philosophies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Randall Collins traces the movement of philosophical thought in ancient Greece, China, Japan, India, the medieval Islamic and Jewish world, medieval Christendom, and modern Europe. What emerges from this history is a social theory of intellectual change, one that avoids both the reduction of ideas to the influences of society at large and the purely contingent local construction of meanings. Instead, Collins focuses on the social locations where sophisticated ideas are formed: the patterns of intellectual networks and their inner divisions and conflicts.


Book cover of Lethe: The Art and Critique of Forgetting

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

An inspirational exploration of profound contemplations on forgetting, which takes the reader on a guided tour through neglected passages in the writings of illustrious writers from antiquity to present times, including Homer, Ovid, Plato, Augustine, Dante, Rabelais, Montaigne, Cervantes, Locke, Voltaire, Kant, Goethe, Nietzsche, Sartre, Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Böll, Borges, and many others.

By Harold Weinrich, Steven Rendall (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lethe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Our daily encounters with forgetting have not taught us enough about how much power it exercises over our lives, what reflections and feelings it evokes in different individuals, how even art and science presuppose-with sympathy or antipathy-forgetting, and finally what political and cultural barriers can be erected against forgetting when it cannot be reconciled with what is right and moral.... We find that cultural history provides a helpful perspective in which the value of the art of forgetting emerges.... That is the subject this book (through which flows Lethe, the meandering stream of forgetfulness) will try to represent and discuss…


Book cover of Beyond Good And Evil

Felipe G.A. Moreira Author Of The Politics of Metaphysics

From my list on the relation between politics and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosophy post-doc at Unesp and a poet who has always felt that politics is not the exclusive business of politicians; that violence is not the exclusive business of warfare or of “vulgar” people, say, drunkards in bars. Violence, I have felt while doing philosophy in the USA, Brazil, Germany, and France, is likewise expressed by well-educated and apparently “peaceful” philosophers who are engaged in implicit politics and practice “subtle” violence. To handle the relation between politics and metaphysics is to do justice to this feeling. The Politics of Metaphysics, I hope, does that. I believe that though more tacitly, the same is done by this list’s books. 

Felipe's book list on the relation between politics and metaphysics

Felipe G.A. Moreira Why did Felipe love this book?

What I love about this book is the fact that it indicates that an apparently apolitical metaphilosophical assumption agrees with an upfront right-wing policy.

The assumption is that when tackling disputes in metaphysics, philosophers should aim to achieve consensus. The policy is that of pressing one to respect the allegedly rationally undeniable standards of a “herd,” as Nietzsche puts it. While problematizing this view, Nietzsche argues that libertarian tendencies of expressing one’s uniqueness are more valuable than more egalitarian tendencies of following herds; to provoke dissensus would then be more valuable than to reach consensus.

This stance has influenced me, even though while problematizing Nietzsche’s works through Carnap’s (and vice-versa), I claim that libertarian and egalitarian tendencies are equally valuable so that one should aim for a balance between them.

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beyond Good And Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unabridged English value reproduction of Beyond Good And Evilby Friedrich Nietzsche and translated by Helen Zimmern. This philosophical classic is a must read because of its fearless approach to how knowledge is formed.

Beyond Good And Evil asks, is truth absolute? Do humans invent ways to fortify already held views or truly seek the truth? Are the powerful more ‘right’ than the weak? Or is Nietzsche writing down page after page to hear himself talk?

Let the reader decide in this slim volume with full text and footnotes, produced at an affordable price.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE              3
CHAPTER I.…


Book cover of A Philosophy of Walking

Erin Leider-Pariser Author Of Get Lost: Seven Principles for Trekking Life with Grace and Other Life Lessons from Kick-Ass Women's Adventure Travel

From my list on inspiring authentic transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a long-time meditator, wellness expert, and founder of a women’s adventure travel business, I am always grateful to discover books that offer insights about enhancing well-being. In my own book, Get Lost: Seven Principles for Trekking Life with Grace and Other Life Lessons from Kick-Ass Women’s Adventure Travel, I share personal stories of transformation that I and my fellow travelers have experienced on trips that include rituals to help us bond and express our authentic selves. Scientific evidence shows that connecting with others and practicing mindfulness are essential for a full, healthy life, and I loved recently sharing this message with students in the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University.  

Erin's book list on inspiring authentic transformation

Erin Leider-Pariser Why did Erin love this book?

I was gifted this book recently and it is the gift that keeps on giving.

I am an avid walker and the way the author interspersed poignant life stories with his own on walking was lovingly poetic. This quote “the walker is king, and the earth is his domain” is the one that defines the entire message of the book. I’ve been on many pilgrimages in life and witnessed many a transformation but none like the ones these philosophers uncover.

It was a joy to read the profound messages in staying present while walking as exercise. Grab a friend and enjoy walking together as you put one foot in front of the other and have meaningful conversation. 

By Frederic Gros, Clifford Harper (illustrator), John Howe (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Philosophy of Walking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.
- Nietzsche

By walking, you escape from the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history ... The freedom in walking lies in not being anyone; for the walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life.

In A Philosophy of Walking, a bestseller in France, leading thinker Frederic Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B-the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble-and reveals what they say…


Book cover of The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher with a voracious appetite for literature. I inhabit a world of abstract ideas but always return to fiction because it vividly portrays the real-world consequences of our beliefs and reminds us that ideas also move us irrationally: they’re comforting or disturbing, audacious or dull, seductive or repellant. I prefer world literature because it plants us in new times and places, helping us, like philosophy, see beyond our blinders. Deprived of the assumptions that prop up our everyday arrogance, we can clear a mental and emotional path to what we’ve ignored or covered up, as well as rediscover and reaffirm shared values, arrived at from new directions. 

Donovan's book list on Japanese novels that illuminate Nietzsche’s philosophy (or distort it in illuminating ways!)

Donovan Miyasaki Why did Donovan love this book?

Nietzsche’s greatest admirers often distort his views. Mishima is no exception. Considering his nationalism, militarism, and ritualistic suicide, it’s little surprise he endorses the popular misconception of Nietzsche as a champion of egoism and power. 

In this fascinating, disturbing story, adolescent boys create a club devoted to an amoral, pseudo-Nietzschean ideal. When they encounter a mysterious sailor, they worship him as a living embodiment of their values until he defies the image they’ve created. 

Mishima misinterprets Nietzsche but in a critically illuminating way. The boys’ ultimate reaction to their disappointing demi-god proves their hypocrisy, revealing that they idolize precisely the qualities they lack. So Mishima inadvertently debunks the stereotypical image of the “overman,” a cartoonishly impossible superhero, a fantasy who attracts only his polar opposites: the insecure, resentful, conformist, and childish.

By Yukio Mishima, John Nathan (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A band of savage 13-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.


Book cover of Nietzsche: The Man and his Philosophy

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

Nietzsche studies are a cottage industry unto themselves. There are thousands of monographs, anthologies, and papers, which are conveniently searchable at the Weimarer Nietzsche-Bibliographie. My “five best books” are not necessarily the interpretations I personally consider by some measure the ‘best’, in the sense of being the most ‘correct’. They are instead the ones I find most helpful for a reader to interpret Nietzsche in a responsible, well-informed way for themselves. 

R. J. Hollingdale is a great starting point for a novice. He was that rare combination of translator, biographer, and philosopher—and as such, his work is approachable for any intellectually curious reader. It was first published in 1965, at a time when one really did have to argue for Nietzsche’s place as a canonical philosopher rather than just a brilliant writer, bombastic iconoclast, or politically-dangerous driver of the pre-war German Zeitgeist. Even if somewhat dated, his book…

By R. J. Hollingdale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nietzsche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic biography of Nietzsche, first published in the 1960s, was enthusiastically reviewed at the time. The biography is now reissued with its text updated in the light of recent research. Hollingdale's biography remains the single best account of the life and works for the student or non-specialist. The biography chronicles Nietzsche's intellectual evolution and discusses his friendship and breach with Wagner, his attitude towards Schopenhauer, and his indebtedness to Darwin and the Greeks. It follows the years of his maturity and his mental collapse in 1889. The final part of the book considers the development of the Nietzsche legend…


Book cover of Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Author Of An Interpretation of Nietzsche's on the Uses and Disadvantage of History for Life

From my list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t especially like Nietzsche, and rarely agree with him. As a professor of philosophy, I find that he is less original than is popularly assumed and less clear than he should be—not out of some mysterious profundity—so much as a recalcitrance or maybe inability to make plain what he thinks. Even so, I find it quite impossible to break away from Nietzsche. For my part, and I suspect for many readers who came upon him during their formative years, Nietzsche’s thought is so close to me that I’m always wrestling with it. Maybe that’s not a ‘result of’ but a ‘condition for’ reading it?

Anthony's book list on interpreting Friedrich Nietzsche

Anthony K. Jensen Why did Anthony love this book?

When I was a struggling young graduate student, I was fortunate enough to have Volker Gerhardt host me as a Fulbright Scholar at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin. A former vice-president of the Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Gerhardt is one of those remarkably industrious luminaries, who, with even a word of encouragement, can launch an entire area of inquiry. Working within what one might call a Kantian-Humanistic orientation, he has written widely on the most varied aspects of intellectual culture. This introductory book on Nietzsche, which is now in its fourth edition, is masterly in balancing the needs of new readers with the sort of nuances from which seasoned scholars continue to draw. Gerhardt’s Nietzsche is somewhat the cultural pragmatist, concerned above all with living an authentic life in the context of a continually-forming Europe. 

By Volker Gerhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Friedrich Nietzsche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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