Plutarch's "Lives" and "Morals" are among the formative books of western civilisation, Written around AD 100, in Greece under Roman rule, they reflect conditions of that time: not only the political limitations, but - more importantly - the rich inheritance of post-classical as well as classical Greek thinking. Russell sets out to explain what it is like to read Plutarch and what one needs to bear in mind in order to read him with understanding and appreciation. Plutarch is seen in his historical context, his language and style, as a scholar of the past, as philosopher and moralist. The "Lives" are then discussed with specific examples in more detail - Alcibiades and some of the main generals of the late Roman republic; in the final chapter Russell examines the reception of Plutarch down to the time of North's translation and Shakespeare's reliance on it. Each chapter is generously laced with quotation (in translation), so that the student and general reader get a feeling for Plutarch's work.