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Paul Strathern

Paul Strathern Paul Strathern[3†]

Paul Strathern is a Scots-Irish writer and academic, born in 1940 in London. He studied philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin, served in the Merchant Navy, and traveled to India and the Himalayas in 1966. His novel "A Season in Abyssinia" won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1972. Strathern's diverse works span science, philosophy, history, literature, medicine, and economics, translated into over two dozen languages[1†][2†][3†].

Early Years and Education

Paul Strathern was born in 1940 in London[1†][4†][5†][6†]. He is of Scots-Irish descent[1†]. Strathern’s early education details are not explicitly mentioned in the available sources, but his intellectual pursuits later in life suggest a strong academic foundation.

Strathern studied philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin[1†][4†][5†][6†]. Trinity College is renowned for its rigorous academic programs and has a rich history of cultivating thinkers and scholars. Studying philosophy would have equipped Strathern with critical thinking skills and a broad understanding of various philosophical concepts and theories.

After his studies, Strathern served in the Merchant Navy for two years[1†][4†][5†][6†]. This experience might have exposed him to diverse cultures and perspectives, enriching his worldview and influencing his later works.

Strathern then lived on a Greek island[1†][4†][5†][6†]. Living in Greece, a country with a rich historical and philosophical heritage, likely had a profound impact on Strathern’s intellectual development.

In 1966, he travelled overland to India and the Himalayas[1†][4†][5†][6†]. This journey might have exposed him to Eastern philosophies and cultures, further broadening his perspectives and enriching his understanding of the world.

Career Development and Achievements

Paul Strathern’s career is marked by a diverse range of accomplishments in writing and academia[1†][4†][7†]. After his travels and experiences in the Merchant Navy, Strathern embarked on a prolific writing career, producing works that spanned various genres and subjects[1†][4†][7†].

His first novel, “Pass by the Sea”, was published in 1968[1†][7†]. This was followed by “A Season in Abyssinia” in 1972, which won the prestigious Somerset Maugham Award[1†][4†][7†]. Strathern continued to write novels, including “One Man’s War” (1973), “Vaslav” (1974), and “The Adventures of Spiro” (1979)[1†][7†].

In addition to his novels, Strathern has written numerous books on science, philosophy, history, literature, medicine, and economics[1†][4†][7†]. His work “Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements” (2000) was short-listed for the Aventis Prize[1†]. His book “Dr Strangelove’s Game: A Brief History of Economic Genius” (2001) was chosen as a Google business book of the year[1†]. His recent work “Ten Cities that Changed The World” (2022) was chosen as a Waterstones History Book of the Year[1†].

Strathern’s works have been translated into over two dozen languages, reflecting their global appeal[1†]. He has also written two series of short introductory books: “Philosophers in 90 Minutes” and "The Big Idea: Scientists Who Changed the World"[1†].

In academia, Strathern served as a lecturer at Kingston University, where he taught philosophy and mathematics[1†][7†]. This role allowed him to share his extensive knowledge and insights with students, further contributing to his field.

Strathern’s career demonstrates a commitment to intellectual exploration and a talent for communicating complex ideas to a broad audience. His works have not only contributed to academic discourse but have also made challenging subjects accessible to the general public[1†][4†][7†].

First Publication of Main Works

Strathern has written several books on science, philosophy, history, literature, medicine, and economics[1†]. His works have been translated into over two dozen languages[1†].

Novels:

Series: Philosophers in 90 Minutes

Science, Philosophy and History Books:

Analysis and Evaluation

Paul Strathern’s work is characterized by its breadth and depth, covering a wide range of subjects from philosophy to economics[1†]. His ability to distill complex ideas into accessible narratives has been widely appreciated[1†][9†].

His series ‘Philosophers in 90 Minutes’ and ‘The Big Idea: Scientists Who Changed the World’ are particularly noteworthy for their concise yet comprehensive exploration of major philosophers and scientists[1†]. These works demonstrate Strathern’s skill in making complex philosophical and scientific ideas accessible to a broad audience[1†].

Strathern’s historical works, such as “Rise and Fall: A History of the World in Ten Empires,” offer insightful analyses of significant empires from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and America[1†][9†]. His exploration of the spirit of adventure, administration, and power of these empires is central to his study[1†][9†]. He effectively links war, subjugation of conquered peoples, and a ‘civilising agenda’ with the operation of empires[1†][9†].

In “The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior,” Strathern deftly interweaves the narratives of his three main characters, successfully evoking their odyssey[1†][10†]. His use of primary sources, such as Machiavelli’s dispatches, adds a chorus-like commentary to the narrative[1†][10†].

Overall, Strathern’s work is marked by its analytical depth, narrative skill, and ability to make complex ideas accessible. His contributions to philosophy, science, and history have had a significant impact on these fields[1†][9†][10†].

Personal Life

Paul Strathern has led a life as diverse and vibrant as the subjects of his books. After studying philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin[1†][2†], he served in the Merchant Navy for two years[1†][2†]. He then lived on a Greek island[1†][2†], immersing himself in a different culture and lifestyle. In 1966, he undertook an overland journey to India and the Himalayas[1†][2†], an experience that likely broadened his worldview and influenced his later works.

Strathern’s personal life has been marked by periods of solitude and reflection. For instance, he spent time in extreme isolation in a hut in Norway and a cottage on the Atlantic coast of Ireland[1†][11†]. These experiences, coupled with his travels, have undoubtedly shaped his perspective and enriched his writing.

Strathern was a lecturer at Kingston University, where he taught philosophy and mathematics[1†]. His commitment to education extends beyond his own learning, as he has shared his knowledge and insights with students, thereby influencing the next generation of thinkers.

He has one daughter[1†]. The details of his family life are private, reflecting his preference for maintaining a distinction between his personal life and his public persona as a writer and academic.

Conclusion and Legacy

Paul Strathern’s work has left a significant impact on the fields of science, philosophy, history, literature, medicine, and economics[1†]. His ability to distill complex ideas into accessible narratives has made him a beloved figure among readers and scholars alike[1†].

Strathern’s book on the history of chemistry, “Mendeleyev’s Dream” (2000), was short-listed for the Aventis Prize[1†]. His works have been translated into over two dozen languages[1†], demonstrating his global reach and influence[1†].

His series of short introductory books, “Philosophers in 90 Minutes” and “The Big Idea: Scientists Who Changed the World”, have introduced countless readers to the world of philosophy and science[1†]. His work on economic history, “Dr Strangelove’s Game” (2001), was chosen as a Google business book of the year[1†]. His book “Ten Cities that Changed The World” (2022) was chosen as a Waterstones History Book of the Year[1†].

Strathern’s writings on the Renaissance, particularly his books “The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance”, “Napoleon in Egypt”, and “The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior: Leonardo, Machiavelli and Borgia - a fateful collusion” (2009), have been praised for their insightful analysis and engaging storytelling[1†]. His recent works include “The Periodic Table” (2015), “Quacks, Rogues and Charlatans” (2015), “The Borgias” (2019), “Rise and Fall: A History of the World in Ten Empires” (2019), and “The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo” (2021)[1†].

In conclusion, Paul Strathern’s legacy lies in his ability to make complex subjects accessible and engaging to a wide audience. His works continue to educate and inspire readers around the world[1†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Paul Strathern [website] - link
  2. Aspects of History - Paul Strathern [website] - link
  3. Penguin Random House - Paul Strathern [website] - link
  4. Goodreads - Author: Paul Strathern (Author of The Medici) [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Book: The Florentines [website] - link
  6. Goodreads - Book: Empire: A New History of the World [website] - link
  7. Encyclopedia.com - Strathern, Paul [website] - link
  8. Goodreads - Author: Books by Paul Strathern (Author of The Medici) [website] - link
  9. Academia - Paul Strathern, Rise and Fall: A History of the World in Ten Empires (2019) [website] - link
  10. The Independent - The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior, By Paul Strathern [website] - link
  11. PhilPapers - Just a moment... [website] - link
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