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The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – April 3, 2007
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About the Author
Peter Constantine is the recipient of a PEN Translation Prize and a National Translation Award. His Modern Library translations include Voltaire’s Canidide, Tolstoy’s The Cossacks, and Gogol’s Taras Bulba. He lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Machiavelli is a name that some consider synonymous with guile, cynicism, and tyranny. In point of fact he was a romantic who was an admirer of the early Roman Republic. He was a supporter of republican principles and a Florentine patriot his entire life. After Lorenzo de Medici overthrew the Florentine Republic in 1513 (CE), he exiled Machiavelli to his estates outside of Florence. Such was Machiavelli's love for his city that he was willing to ignore his republican principals (at least temporarily) and join the Medici administration of the city. "The Prince" his most famous work and the principal source of his reputation as a cynic and ruthless politician was written to ingratiate him with Lorenzo.
Now before adding `hypocrite' to the other characterizations of Machiavelli, one should understand that the book contained the only gift that he could afford to offer Lorenzo, his knowledge based on his analysis of history. Machiavelli was a student of the history of Roman Republic and Empire. He was also a close observer of human behavior both in the past and in his contemporary Renaissance Italy. If his analysis of history and motivation appears cynical, it was also in tune with his times and reflected contemporary attitudes.Read more ›
The content is fascinating, Machiavelli's use of Greek and Roman history to teach is likely as relevant now as it was then. Just a good book all around.
What he did was combine the works of Livy with his own observations, which resulted in The Prince. I believe The Prince was written in hopes of obtaining some sort of position with the Medici, and thereby have some sort of influence, even if only minimal, on the diplomatic and political conduct of Florence, in hopes of influencing things to her benefit.
He was the first to dispassionately list the real, sometimes loathsome things even a good ruler was at times forced to resort to in order to secure long term benefit to his political entity. He also said it was better to have a government that was not always forced to resort to these things by dint of its citizens being satisfied with their ruler. A republic was the most stable in his mind.
Machiavelli was the first real political theorist, and if a wise ruler had practiced some of what Machiavelli had concluded, maybe Italy and Florence might not have had the subsequent three hundred years or so of political turmoil and domination by others.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a compelling look at politics from an amoral point of view. It helped me understand a great deal about international politics and diplomacy. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sam Ash
Difficult to gain any focused practical thoughts regarding Machiavelli"s philosophy regarding disputed issues.Published 14 months ago by drrvolz
I'm very happy with this item. Well made and shipped professionally all at a very reasonable price. I do recommend this to others.Published on July 22, 2014 by Sama Takeo