- Mass Market Paperback: 166 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reprint edition (September 1, 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553212788
- ISBN-13: 978-0553212785
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,639 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Prince (Bantam Classics) Reprint Edition
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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
“[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
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"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. In addition to the text of _The Prince_, this edition also includes two shorter historical works by Machiavelli, "Descriptions of the Methods Adopted by the Duke Valentino When Murdering Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, the Signor Pagolo, and the Duke di Gravina Orsini," and "The Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca." ("Duke Valentino" is an alternate name for Cesare Borgia). Both additional texts are, in essence, case studies of how contemporary historical figures achieved success by acting according to the precepts which Machiavelli outlines in the main body of the text, and as such are very useful and interesting companion reads.
As a final note, if anyone has recommendations for histories of Italy in this time period, please link me to them in a comment -- after reading this, I want to read more about the era. Thanks!
I trusted that something called Amazon Classics would be ok. My mistake.
To be able to read and understand this book correctly, you must be prepared to spend some time understanding the politics and conflicts of the time. That being said, it's the only way to do it and be able to grasp more than surface conclusions. Being able to read and understand the work changed my understanding of not just politics, but also my interactions with different groups both socially and in my work life.
I enjoyed reading this book a lot.
It's a good read for anyone. In general it will help you understand why politics are important and why politicians don't always fulfill their promises. It covers how to govern your land or foreign lands which have been invaded. Rise to power and methods to stay in power.
This book is a hardcover edition and its beautifully bound material feels great. I guess the only downside is that it's purple. Which you know, I think it's fine but given the fact that the the title is "The Prince" some idiot might think it's about the artist/singer "Prince" who is usually associated with the color purple. Maybe it's just me being paranoid.
In conclusion here, I think this book should be required reading for High School students, that's how important I think this is.