Top positive review
A book on 15th century statecraft with little application elsewhere.
on July 11, 2017
Machiavellian is a term oft associated with those persons who are ruthless in their pursuit of ascendancy in life. However, to extend Machiavelli's advice on how to be an effective statesman in the 15th century to modern times needs more than a little contrivance. "Machiavellian" can be substituted with a plethora of different words in the English language considering he was not the first, nor the last to realise that being an effective statesman required efficient ruthlessness and a fair amount of guile.
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.