- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (September 21, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486272745
- ISBN-13: 978-0486272740
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,466 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Prince (Dover Thrift Editions) 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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
That being said, Machiavelli achieves what he sets out to achieve (i.e. A manual that could guide a fledgling prince expand and consolidate his state) in a most brilliant manner. His examples are profound and although the number of troops he cites may be a tad sketchy at times, he does an excellent job of recounting the names and the stratagems behind major military, diplomatic and other (some of which are less-than-savoury) manoeuvres proving that he was a chronicler beyond par.
This book is exceedingly well-written and the only reason I felt the need to give it only 4 stars is due to it's relevance (or lack thereof). We, in the 21st century do not form the target audience for Machiavelli and there is little in this book to take home, that hasn't already been touched upon by other sources both literary and otherwise.
Maurizio Viroli's introductory essay is basically an abbreviated version of his book "Machiavelli" (Oxford U.P., 1998). Viroli places Machiavelli in the tradition of classical republicanism going back through the Florentine humanists to Cicero and Livy, and he demonstrates effectively how Machiavelli's works are imbued with the language of that tradition, especially from the late Middle Ages on. Viroli's republican Machiavelli espoused the "vivere civile" ("civil life"), a political ideal that could only be realized in a republic, where people could participate in politics while subjecting themselves willingly to the rule of law because of their love of country and desire to serve the common good. The means enabling their political participation was rhetoric, an art central to the Roman republic and the republican tradition, and, Viroli insists, to Machiavelli's world view and his works. Consequently, if one recognizes Machiavelli's embrace of rhetoric, Viroli concludes that the notion of Machiavelli the scientist, the father of political science, must be rejected.
Having said that, the book is a kind of wisdom for- and observation of what makes a good leader. It also opens a door into various historic events and leaders that may be an obscurity to so many of us. Human cruelty was not invented in the 20th century and neither was deceit, murder, jealousy, ambition and ruthless thirst for power.
In view of even recent historical events, such as failed invasions, meddling with other people's countries and so on, this book rings true and should be read by those interested.
To bad I am to illiterate to read it in the original Italian text, but I am satisfied with this translation and brilliant book and will read it again for the hints on historic characters and further absorbing of its contents.