Bryan Magee has had a many-sided career. In the 1960s and 70s he worked in broadcasting, as a current affairs reporter on ITV and a critic of the arts on BBC Radio 3. At one time he taught philosophy at Oxford, where he was a tutor at Balliol College. His best remembered television programmes are two long series about philosophy: for the first he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Television Society, while the book he based on the second was a bestseller. From 1974 to 1983 he was Member of Parliament for Leyton, first as Labour, then as a Social Democrat. He is now a full-time author and this book is his twentieth. The others have been translated, altogether, into more than 20 languages.