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Art of War Paperback – May 20, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Christopher Lynch has made the best and the first careful translation of Machiavelli's Art of War. With useful notes, an excellent introduction, an interpretive essay, glossary, and index, it is a treasure for readers of military history and Renaissance thought as well as for lovers of Machiavelli." - Harvey. Mansfield, Harvard University; "Lynch argues convincingly that Art of War's detractors have failed to approach the text in the right way.... If Machiavelli's works bear the mark of a preliberal age, his thought also transcends his age, not least his timeless warning about ideologies that, in the name of abstract principles, ask us to refrain from defending... the nation in which we actually live." - Jacqueline Newmyer, Weekly Standard"

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Niccolò Machiavelli's Art of War is one of the world's great classics of military and political theory. Praised by the finest military minds in history and said to have influenced no lesser lights than Frederick the Great and Napoleon, the Art of War is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history and theory of war in the West—and for readers of The Prince and Discourse on Livy who seek to explore more fully the connection between war and politics in Machiavelli's thought.

Machiavelli scholar Christopher Lynch offers a sensitive and entirely new translation of the Art of War, faithful to the original but rendered in modern, idiomatic English. Lynch's fluid translation helps readers appreciate anew Machiavelli's brilliant treatments of the relationships between war and politics, civilians and the military, and technology and tactics. Clearly laying out the fundamentals of military organization and strategy, Machiavelli marshals a veritable armory of precepts, prescriptions, and examples about such topics as how to motivate your soldiers and demoralize the enemy's, avoid ambushes, and gain the tactical and strategic advantage in countless circumstances.

To help readers better appreciate the Art of War, Lynch provides an insightful introduction that covers its historical and political context, sources, influence, and contemporary relevance. He also includes a substantial interpretive essay discussing the military, political, and philosophical aspects of the work, as well as maps, an index of names, and a glossary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (May 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226500462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226500461
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Senya on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Art Of War, considered by Niccolo Machiavelli (NM) himself to be his greatest work. In his book 'The Prince', NM wrote "A Prince, therefore must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he adopt anything as his art but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands." So it's no surprise that NM would be inclined to write a book such as this, so as to present towards us, on how a Prince would approach military matters.

The book is segmented into 7 chapters or books; each segment deals with it's respective matter. Book 1 for example deals with recruitment, book 2 with ordering, and so and so forth. NM unlike his other books (Prince, Discourses, Florentine) is not the author in this book, this book is a dialogue, the lead discussant being Fabrizio, an Italian captain, who with a couple of youths, interested in the art of war, are discussing the art of war. Fabrizio, mostly, bases his true model of a milita upon Ancient Roman examples. He does reference other ancient institutions; Rome however is his main topic of discussion.

At the time when NM wrote this; Italian militia wasn't so far ahead as it is now. There were a few exceptions, artillery was new (cannons), arquebeis (if that is how you spell it), warfare, for the most part, was pretty much the same as Ancient warfare. NM's advice would not suffice for modern warfare, although there are few advices that would be adequate for all times. For example Fabrizio points out that the cornerstone of every war is necessity; Fabrizio explains to the reader that if a captain or a general were to drive his men towards necessity, compel them to fight or die, he would in the end have an advantage because his men are more willing to fight than the enemy's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is interesting in terms of understanding Machiavelli's mindset and mentality about strategy, however, if one is more interested in classical Machiavelli, you should read "The Prince."
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