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The Prince: Second Edition 2nd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226500447
ISBN-10: 0226500446
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian politician, diplomat, founding father of political science, and author of the preeminent political treatise, The Prince. Born in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli held many government posts over his lifetime and often took leading roles in important diplomatic missions. During his time visiting other countries and nation states, Machiavelli was exposed to the politics of figures like Ceasare Borgia and King Louis XII, experiences which would inform his writings on state-building and politics. Machiavelli s political career came to an abrupt end when the Medici overthrew Florence, and he was held as a prisoner under the new regime. Tortured for a short time, he was released without admitting to any crime or treason. At this point, Machiavelli retired and turned to intellectual and philosophical pursuits, producing his two major works, The Prince and Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livy. He died in 1527 at the age of 58.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226500446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226500447
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Russon on February 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Machiavelli was a moderately significant figure in Renaissance Florence at the time that city was busy shaping the essence of the modern world. His works (all of them, but especially the Prince) capture much of what is pivotal in this culture. The book is advice to princes on how to seize and hold power. Mostly, that means you need to trick people and use ruthless violence intelligently. (He suggests that, if you could invent something like the Catholic Church, you'd be in a specially good position to set up a rule that would draw a lot of allegiance and a lot of taxes, would have no responsibilities, and would never end.) It's great reading as literature and as history, and also incredibly subtle and insightful as an analysis of human psychology. Mostly, this work praises cunning intelligence; it is also written for the reader who possesses the same. Consequently, it is a book that requires real patience and attention if its real treasures are to be found. Mansfield's translation is, I believe, the best for allowing one to look for the inner depth of the book. The translation is inspired by the work of Leo Strauss, and, as is typical of Straussian translations, it is a translation that is extremely careful to reflect the subtleties of the language of the original in order to retain their complex intimations etc. This is the translation I use when I teach the book because of its precision and elegance.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This review was submitted on the web page presenting Mansfield's translation.

I have been using Wootton's translation of The Prince in a university program where the texts are set by the faculty. This year we changed to the Mansfield translation and I've requested that we return to Wootton's.

In his attempt to provide an "accurate" translation of the Italian, Mansfield made the mistake of many translators in overlooking the clarity of his English prose.

For example, where Wootton writes, "he increased the strength of one of the most powerful Italian states," Mansfield writes, "he . . . increased the power of a power in Italy." (15) There are other odd uses of diction in Mansfield, for example, where Wootton speaks of a "founder," Mansfield uses the word "introducer." (23) And though concise in places, Mansfield has a tendency to write long sentences, perhaps in imitation of the Italian, where Wootton is more to the point.

If you're still not convinced, compare the following passages:

Wootton: "So, too, with those who, having been private citizens, were made emperors of Rome because they had corrupted the soldiers. Such rulers are entirely dependent on the goodwill and good fortune of whoever has given them power. Good will and good fortune are totally unreliable and capricious."

Mansfield: ". . . as also those emperors were made who from private individual [sic] attained the empire through corrupting soldiers. These persons rest simply on the will and fortune of whoever has given a state to them, which are two very inconstant and unstable things."
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Format: Hardcover
Machiavelli was a moderately significant figure in Renaissance Florence at the time that city was busy shaping the essence of the modern world. His works (all of them, but especially the Prince) capture much of what is pivotal in this culture. The book is advice to princes on how to seize and hold power. Mostly, that means you need to trick people and use ruthless violence intelligently. (He suggests that, if you could invent something like the Catholic Church, you'd be in a specially good position to set up a rule that would draw a lot of allegiance and a lot of taxes, would have no responsibilities, and would never end.) It's great reading as literature and as history, and also incredibly subtle and insightful as an analysis of human psychology. Mostly, this work praises cunning intelligence; it is also written for the reader who possesses the same. Consequently, it is a book that requires real patience and attention if its real treasures are to be found. Mansfield's translation is, I believe, the best for allowing one to look for the inner depth of the book. The translation is inspired by the work of Leo Strauss, and, as is typical of Straussian translations, it is a translation that is extremely careful to reflect the subtleties of the language of the original in order to retain their complex intimations etc. This is the translation I use when I teach the book because of its precision and elegance.Read more ›
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