It benefits from being refreshingly clear sighted about Socrates, portraying him as a more ambiguous character than the unimpeachably innocent victim of Plato’s accounts.Plato, it should be remembered, had as his ideal state, as portrayed in The Republic, something we would regard in the contemporary world as fascist. Even in his own day Plato’s Republic would have represented a regression from democratic Athens. Hence Plato was a Spartan sympathiser, and he had a family member amongst the Thirty Tyrants. Socrates, Plato’s teacher and ideal, was tainted by his association with this oligarchic and tyrannical Athenian faction, and so in the context of civil strife in Athens and more general war with Sparta, could have been regarded as a politically threatening figure.
Waterfield’s thesis is doubtless controversial but no less entertaining or informative for all that.