The Republic of Plato, translated with notes and an interpretive essay by Allan Bloom (Basic, 512 pp., $22)
In the fall of 1970, a freshman at Harvard with “sophomore standing” (easy to get in those days), I showed up for the first meeting of my sophomore tutorial in the government department. The teacher was a first-year assistant professor, Mark Blitz, and the six of us in the group were to spend the entire term reading Plato’s Republic. Blitz told us to buy the Bloom translation and start reading Book One.
I remember opening the book in my dorm room the night …