Machiavelli: A Renaissance Life

Machiavelli: A Renaissance Life

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by Joseph Markulin
     
 

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This epic piece of storytelling brings the world of fifteenth-century Italy to life as it traces Machiavelli’s rise from young boy to controversial political thinker.
 
The often-vilified Renaissance politico and author of The Prince comes to life as a diabolically clever, yet mild mannered and conscientious civil servant.

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Overview

This epic piece of storytelling brings the world of fifteenth-century Italy to life as it traces Machiavelli’s rise from young boy to controversial political thinker.
 
The often-vilified Renaissance politico and author of The Prince comes to life as a diabolically clever, yet mild mannered and conscientious civil servant. Author Joseph Markulin presents Machiavelli’s life as a true adventure story, replete with violence, treachery, heroism, betrayal, sex, bad popes, noble outlaws, deformed kings, menacing Turks, even more menacing Lutherans, unscrupulous astrologers, untrustworthy dentists—and, of course, forbidden love.

While sharing the stage with Florence’s Medici family, the nefarious and perhaps incestuous Borgias, the artists Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the doomed prophet Savonarola, Machiavelli is imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately abandoned. Nevertheless, he remains the sworn enemy of tyranny and a tireless champion of freedom and the republican form of government.

Out of the cesspool that was Florentine Renaissance politics, only one name is still uttered today—that of Niccolo Machiavelli. This mesmerizing, vividly told story will show you why his fame endures.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An enjoyable romp through a fascinating period in European history.”
Booklist
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-26
A bland "nonfiction novel" about the life of the civil servant who lent his name as a byword for self-serving machination. The notion of a nonfiction novel owes much to Truman Capote, whose In Cold Blood was so branded owing to a few gaps that he guessed at in the exchanges between major characters. In the case of the 15th-century Florentine Machiavelli, there are scarcely more than gaps: some surviving letters, testimonials from contemporaries and, of course, Machiavelli's own writings, most famously The Prince. Why Markulin chose to cast Machiavelli's life in the form of fictive back and forth is anyone's guess, but the dialogue is quite staggeringly uninteresting and quite Middle American: " ‘Do you think he's guilty, Pagolo?' said Rinuccio. ‘Guilty? Hell, yes! Guilty of being a goddamn public nuisance.' " Machiavelli himself has all the narrative zing of a grocery clerk in Piscataway, though Markulin correctly portrays him as a man smart enough to be able to read the political winds and adapt accordingly in a time when Italy's powerful families--Medicis, Sforzas and so on--were falling upon and hacking each other up with wild abandon: Old Niccolò was the original survivor, if not the comeback kid. There are a couple of nice and defensible turns, such as Machiavelli's run-ins with a very stern, very bad local archbishop whose behavior taught him a thing or two about power and its application. And Markulin does get most of the historic details correct (notably the bad smell of medieval streets, to which he often returns), but what is actual history in these overabundant pages is textbook-ish and didactic. The overall effort is a ham-fisted blend of historical novel, with none of the grace of a Mary Renault or Robert Graves, with documentary script for some lesser version of the History Channel, one that allows for plenty of smelling--and bad aromas. Inferior (save invented dialogue) to Miles Unger's Machiavelli: A Biography (2011) and Corrado Vivanti's Niccolò Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography (2013).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616148058
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Pages:
580
Sales rank:
473,907
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.00(d)

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