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In nineteenth-century Tsarist Russia an orphaned child born of Jewish and Cossack blood grows up in a land of wealthy aristocrats, struggling peasants, and growing discontent. Sent to an elite military academy at the tender age of four, Sergei Ivanov (Socrates) comes of age training to protect a way of life he doesn't understand. When a sudden death forces Sergei to flee, he escapes into the wilderness.
With nothing to cling to but a memory of his grandfather and the promise of a gift buried near St. Petersburg, Sergei journeys across a harsh land to seek his place in the world. The adventure that unfolds is not about the revolutions of history, but about the revolution in one man's heart. A stirring story of tragedy and triumph emerges as Sergei encounters mentors and masters who reveal secrets about the arts of war and, ultimately, the path to peace. From the heights of love to the depths of despair, from the threat of a mortal enemy to the search for a child he has never met, Sergei Ivanov's odyssey unlocks hidden wisdom at the heart of life. He could never have imagined that from the moment of his birth he was destined to become the peaceful warrior who would change the lives of millions worldwide.
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Over the years, since publication of my best-known and bestselling book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, numerous readers, curious about my old mentor, the man I called Socrates, asked me whether he was ever married or had children, and who were his teachers. This question of lineage has always seemed important to me. Teachers, guides, and wisdom-bearers and sharers rarely emerge fully-developed at birth (although many claim so). We each stand on the shoulders of others, and often wisdom is hard-earned.
I decided to share the story of the life of my old mentor -- this was the first impulse that eventually, after four years of intensive literary labor, would become The Journeys of Socrates. And on a personal level, I liked the challenge -- I wanted to stretch and test myself, to see if I could write a quality story that would engross and even move readers to deep emotion. As Herman Melville wrote, "Two write a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme."
Knowing a story and telling it are two different things. The theme that took shape in the writing summarizes, in a way, the course of the book: "How a boy became a man; how a man became a warrior; and (most important), how a warrior found peace." I didn't know it would become an archetypal story of conflict resolution -- a way to end the cycles of revenge and retribution (no matter how apparently justified) that plague our world today. This is a story about love, family, trauma, courage, and the tempering of a man's wisdom and spirit -- the making of a peaceful warrior.
Dan Millman is a former world champion gymnast, college professor, and martial arts instructor. His books have inspired more than three million readers in 28 languages. He has taught at numerous writers conferences and speaks worldwide, presenting Peaceful Warrior seminars to people from all walks of life.
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