The stories in this book follow Socrates as written by Plato. None of the stories are firsthand accounts because Socrates felt that something was lost when a tale or argument is written rather than spoken. The main plotline concerns Socrates trial. Euthyphro contains a massive dialogue about the will of the gods and right and wrong, The Defense covers the actual trial of Socrates, and Crito contains a lengthy dialogue about abiding to law for the sake of not undermining the government system.
Socrates is portrayed as both wise and arrogant. One cannot help but pity him. He is caught in an ethical dilemma. Does he follow the laws of man, or the laws of his God? The choice Socrates makes costs him his life as he is executed primarily for corrupting the youth.
In these dialogues, Plato reports on the trial and sentencing of Socrates, and in so doing, outlines his philosophy. Although The Apology is the most famous of the group, I recommend reading all three dialogues together for the most comprehensive overview of Plato's ideas.
Socrates has been accused of impiety, and the first dialogue contains his discussion with Euthypro on the nature of piety and impiety. Since Euthypro is on his way to accuse his father of this crime, it is particularly relevant. The discussion highlights the subjective nature of this accusation, because Euthyphro is never able to give Socrates an adequate definition of (im)piety.
In The Apology, Socrates stands before his accusers. Their accusations become a platform as much for him to examine their lives as for them to examine his. At one point, Socrates says, "Wherever a man's station is, whether he has chosen it of his own free will, or whether he has been placed at it by his commander, there it is his duty to remain and face the danger without thinking of death or of any other thing except disgrace." This is what Socrates does, though all those around him are losing their heads.
After his inevitable sentencing, Crito comes to Socrates' cell, hoping to urge him to escape. Socrates convinces Cato that he, Socrates, should go to his death, in part because it would violate his philosophy of not just living, but living well, to do otherwise. Socrates would rather die than relinquish his philosophy of right thinking.
The Phaedo, which is included in my copy, details his subsequent execution by the ingestion of hemlock. From the description, hemlock worked then much in the same way that lethal injection works today. There are a great many worthwhile ideas packed into this little book. I would urge anyone who has not read this book to do so.