IN KING HEROD'S COURT is a novel in the tradition of the classic historical novels "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves and "Augustus" by John Williams. It tells the story of the life and adventures of Nicholas of Damascus, (64 BCE – 16 CE) diplomat, politician, philosopher, historian, friend and confidant of the three greatest men of his epoch: Mark Antony, Herod and Augustus. David Mandel has written a remarkable novel, racy and inventive, laced with humor and irony, that will delight his readers.
Plato was born around 2,500 years ago. He lived in a small city-state in Greece and busied himself with the problems of his fellow Greeks, a people living in scattered cities around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In all he tried to do for the Greeks he failed. Why, then, should people in the modern world bother to read what he had to say? Does it make sense to go to a Greek thinker for advice on the problems of an age so different from his own? To anyone who has questioned the relevance of Plato to the modern world Richard Crossman s lively book provides a brilliant reply. The problems facing Plato s world bear striking parallels to ours today, the author maintains, so who better to turn to than Plato, the most objective and most ruth observer of the failures of Greek society. Crossman s engaging text provides both an informed introduction to Greek ideas and an original and controversial view of Plato himself."
In 1886 a 19 year-old journalist disguised himself as a tramp and visited the worst lodging houses of London to 'see things as they really are.' Dottings of a Dosser is an account of his experiences and an attempt to come up with a solution. Howard Joseph Goldsmid (1866-1895) warned that if something was not done to improve the situation of the poorest in society then the country might end up confronting a revolution.
Two years later 'Jack the Ripper' murdered five prostitutes in Whitechapel and Spitalfields. His victims were mostly middle-aged women who lived in the similar common lodging houses to those that Goldsmid described. They were people 'who have neither house nor room that they can call their own, and who night after night, week in, week out, for many a weary year, ''doss'' in the nearest lodging-house, and hardly dare to dream of any other or better accommodation.
While they live their principal care is to find the necessary fourpence each night, together with a few coppers more for food, or at all events for drink. When they die they depend upon the kindly feeling of their chums and fellow-dossers for the means of burial, or upon the scantier, if more certain, mercy of the parish sexton and the workhouse hearse.' 'Are you prepared, reader, to meet such company? If so, come with me round some of the places I have visited. You will have the advantage that, while my tour was made in the flesh, yours may be completed in the spirit. And much is to be learned from such an expedition, even if made only in imagination, by those who have but very dimly realized the fact that there are dens of misery unutterable, and of vice indescribable, in some quarters of this wealth-teeming, yet poverty-producing, metropolis.'