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The Prince Kindle Edition

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Kindle, July 17, 2012
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Length: 140 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Lorenzo de' Medici seized control of the Florentine Republic in 1512, he summarily fired the Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria and set in motion a fundamental change in the way we think about politics. The person who held the aforementioned office with the tongue-twisting title was none other than Niccolò Machiavelli, who, suddenly finding himself out of a job after 14 years of patriotic service, followed the career trajectory of many modern politicians into punditry. Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network, he only wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is. Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood," Machiavelli avers, "that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state." With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency. --Tim Hogan

Review

“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith

Product Details

  • File Size: 2983 KB
  • Print Length: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (July 17, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 17, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UH4DA4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,044 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence. He served the Florentine republic as a secretary and second chancellor, but was expelled from public life when the Medici family returned to power in 1512.His most famous work, The Prince, was written in an attempt to gain favour with the Medicis and return to politics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

233 of 238 people found the following review helpful By TS VINE VOICE on November 7, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The idea of "reviewing" this is more than a little silly -- it's arguably the most influential non-religious work of all time -- but I thought a few comments & historical notes might still be worthwhile.

"The Prince" was essentially the first work of political realism in Western thought -- the first work of Western political philosophy that concerned itself not with the ideal government (as Plato had done in his _Republic_) but with the practical realities of getting and holding power. To describe the impact and influence of that willingness, that first notion that conventional morality might not be the best guide to success, would be as impossible a task as trying to summarize the influence of Galileo. Napoleon is rumored to have written extensive annotations to this book; Stalin allegedly kept a copy on his nightstand. Half of Shakespeare's villains (Iago, Richard III, etc.) derive their character in whole or part from this text.

Most of this book is extraordinarily controversial, even today, yet still fundamentally difficult to argue against; there's a reason the Catholic Church kept it on the _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_ for centuries. If you're looking for food for thought, it's here.

This particular kindle edition is fairly good; the text is cleanly presented with few typographical or scanning errors, and the translator has clearly made a significant effort to present the text as accurately as possible in a modern translation, with several footnotes detailing possible alternate translations of particular words, etc.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Mr Dad Guy on May 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is of the (currently free) Kindle edition of The Prince.

As others have stated at much greater length and with far greater eloquence, this is one of the most important books of political thought and philosophy ever written, and a truly timeless classic. As such, the fact that it's available for free on Kindle makes this a terrific deal, worth every single penny and many more. All the usual conveniences of Kindle applies here: very fast to download via Whispernet, the handiness of being able to annotate and highlight important passages, bookmarking pages you want to reference again later, etc. The slickness of the Kindle format and capabilities plus the inherit worthiness of the book itself easily nets 4 stars.

It's been about forever since I last read The Prince, plus I don't really know anything about Italian, so I'm not really fit to talk about the quality of the translation. Suffice it to say that it's a fairly easy book to read and make sense of, but again I can't speak to how true this particular edition is to its source material.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this edition of The Prince that need to be mentioned, and which in the end detract a little from the overall score. The first and biggest is in the formatting of the book. In short, it looks like a plain-text notepad file converted into a Kindle book; there's no navigable Table of Contents or chapter breaks as with most commercial Kindle books, and the book itself flows from the title page almost directly into the background about Machiavelli and then from there straight into The Prince itself, with scarcely a break in the text to mark the transition.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Nick Jamilla on October 23, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was quite hopeful to have a copy of "The Prince" on my kindle, but as is often the case, you get what you pay for. And this edition is free.

Other reviewers have mentioned that the translation is not the best. And indeed, my hope was to insert highlights from my hard copy to the kindle edition and eventually toss away the crusty yellow text which I picked up in Japan. Instead, I found that the Daniel Donno text (Bantam) was clear and aphoristic; the Marriot (Kindle/online) text was muddled, and subsumed in a larger narrative.

Example:
Bantam: (Chapter V) "A city which is used to freedom is more easily controlled by means of its own citizens than by any other, provided one chooses not to destroy it."

Kindle: "... and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way."

Italian: E più facilmente si tiene una città usa a vivere libera con il mezzo de' sua cittadini, che in alcuno altro modo, volendola preservare.

I will not deign to judge the actual translation from Italian to English; rather, I judge the Bantam edition English as much easier to understand. And while I would not typically judge prose because it rings well as a sound bite, I think Machiavelli's intent, as well as the nature of the book as a list of rules (thoughts) for the successful prince, lends itself more to aphorism.

The Marriot translation, on which this kindle edition is copied, can be found at About.com ([...]). While the translation is not better because it is found on a website instead of the kindle, at least one can click toggle back and forth between English and the original Italian.
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