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Machiavelli's New Modes and Orders: A Study of the Discourses on Livy First Printig Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0226503707
ISBN-10: 0226503704
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In the only full-length interpretive study of Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy, Harvey C. Mansfield provides a chapter-by-chapter commentary of this controversial and ambiguous work. Mansfield argues that Machiavelli's new modes and orders were intended to undermine the classical and Christian foundations of political philosophy and establish a new foundation not only for modern political philosophy, but for modern politics as well.

This penetrating study, wrought by one of Machiavelli's foremost interpreters, uncovers the hidden intricacies of the Discourses. It will inform and challenge its readers at every step.

About the Author

Harvey C. Mansfield is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University. He is the author of Machiavelli's Virtue and has translated The Prince, Discourses on Livy (with Nathan Tarcov), and Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (with Delba Winthrop), all published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Printig edition (April 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226503704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226503707
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #953,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The return of this book to print is a great boon to anyone interested in Machiavelli, or who has ever struggled through the Discourses wondering just what Old Nick is getting at.
Originally published more than 20 years ago, "New Modes and Orders" remains the only full length commentary on the Discourses ever published in English. As such, it is indespensible, for the Discourses is at once Machiavelli's most difficult and most important book. Those of us who until now have had to rest content with rumaging through library copies dreading the due date will gladly shell out...to have a copy on our own shelves.
"New Modes" has often been critized for its reserve bordering on circumspection. There is justice in this criticism. This book is not an easy read, and it does not "explain" the difficulties of the Discourses in a way that readers who are not willing to work will find helpful.
But despite his overall reserve, Mansfield is surprisingly candid on a few points of extreme importance. My own impression is that his method is to state baldly a handful of broad but essential points, and then elusivley wade through a host of details the understanding of which allows us to fill in the gaps between the broad points.
One example will suffice. You don't need to be well versed in military affairs to realize that practically none of Machiavelli's arguments in Book II of the Discourses makes any sense. Mansfield helps us resolve this difficulty, right at the outset of his treatment of that Book, by plainly stating that Book II is an argument not about physical warfare but about spiritual warfare. It is in fact a long, sustained metaphor in which certain topics and terms serve as stand-ins for Machiavelli's real subjects.
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