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by Niccolò Machiavelli, Trans. By W. K. Marriott
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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
J. H. Hexter, Washington University
A readable text in vigorous prose. I have not read a translation of The Prince into English that is more lively.
This political science classic still has the power to shock, just as it did when first published almost five hundred years ago. Fritz Weaver reads in an appropriately detached manner, for it is this air of objectivity regarding the ruthless pursuit of political power that has made Machiavelli's name synonymous with evil. This quality recording begins and ends with ceremonial music, which sets the right tone for a treatise directed to royalty. The unadorned audio performance offers an opportunity to focus on the text of this classic. Weaver reads with conviction, making deceit and immorality sound reasonable in the quest to govern. C.A.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Rufus Goodwin has made a new translation into modern English of Machiavelli's masterpiece, The Prince. Machiavelli, father of Social Sciences, continues to have relevance in our modern world, and his observations on the nature of human being and the political systems are as new today as they were during the Renaissance. In the Introduction, the adjective "Machiavellian" is analyzed.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
<P>Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor <I>The Prince</I> even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince... a king... a president.</p><p>When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In <I>The Prince</I> he envisioned what would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.</P>
Card catalog description
The most famous book on politics ever written, The Prince remains as lively and shocking today as when it was written almost five hundred years ago. Initially denounced as a collection of sinister maxims and a recommendation of tyranny, it has more recently been defended and indeed applauded as the first scientific treatment of politics as it is practiced rather than as it ought to be practiced. A masterpiece of effective prose, The Prince is at once comic and formidable, imaginative and calculating, fascinating and chilling. Its influence in modern history has been profound, and - often considered to be the first modern book - it was surely a primary text for the modern philosophers who challenged the traditions of ancient and medieval thought and morality. Mansfield's translation of this classic work, in combination with the new material added for this edition, makes it the definitive version of The Prince, indispensable to scholars, students, and lovers of the dark art of politics.
From the Publisher
Consider these Machiavelli translations also available from Waveland Press: Clizia (ISBN 0881339024) and Mandragola (ISBN 0971974573).
Inside Flap Copy
Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government, and is the ultimate book on power politics.
About the Author
Rufus Goodwin is a poet, novelist,translator and journalist.
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