Machiavelli: The Prince

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Overview

In his introduction to this new translation by Russell Price, Professor Skinner presents a lucid analysis of Machiavelli's text as a response both to the world of Florentine politics, and as an attack on the advice-books for princes published by a number of his contemporaries. This new edition includes notes on the principal events in Machiavelli's life, and on the vocabulary of The Prince, as well as biographical notes on characters in the text.

Described as a practical rule-book for the diplomat and a handbook of evil, this work provides an uncompromising picture of the true nature of power.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
First published in 1517, this classic treatise on the art of practical politics remains a fascinating and powerful work. Laying down uncompromising guidelines for successful leadership, Machiavelli leaves no room for indecision or weakness, and his text comes alive in the voice of actor Fritz Weaver. The narrator's performance is energetic and committed, heightening the dramatic impact of such controversial mandates as the necessary destruction of all the members of a ruling family, of inflicting violence once and for all, or of acting cruelly for the sake of unity. The text is prefaced by the unidentified translator's enlightening introduction. The packaging is aesthetically appealing but flimsy. Definitely recommended for academic and large public libraries.

--Sister M. Anna Falbo CSSF, Villa Maria College Library, Buffalo. N.Y.

Library Journal
First published in 1517, this classic treatise on the art of practical politics remains a fascinating and powerful work. Laying down uncompromising guidelines for successful leadership, Machiavelli leaves no room for indecision or weakness, and his text comes alive in the voice of actor Fritz Weaver. The narrator's performance is energetic and committed, heightening the dramatic impact of such controversial mandates as the necessary destruction of all the members of a ruling family, of inflicting violence once and for all, or of acting cruelly for the sake of unity. The text is prefaced by the unidentified translator's enlightening introduction. The packaging is aesthetically appealing but flimsy. Definitely recommended for academic and large public libraries.

--Sister M. Anna Falbo CSSF, Villa Maria College Library, Buffalo. N.Y.

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Product Details

Read an Excerpt

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Seventeenth Chapter: Concerning Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared

...Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed, they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince, who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or by nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails....

Twenty-First Chapter: How a Prince Should Conduct Himself So as to Gain Renown

...A prince is also respected when he is either a true friend or a downright enemy, that is to say, when, without any reservation, he declares himself in favour of one party against the other; which course will always be more advantageous than standing neutral; because if two of your powerful neighbours come to blows, they are of such a character that, if one of them conquers, you have either to fear him or not. In either case it will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to make war strenously; because, in the first case, if you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall a prey to the conqueror, to the pleasure and satisfaction of his who has been conquered, and you will have no reasons to offer, nor anything to protect or to shelter you. Because he who conquers does not want doubtful friends who will not aid him in the time of trial; and he who loses will not harbour you because you did not willingly, sword in hand, court his fate....

Translation by: W.K. Marriott

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Table of Contents

Editor's note; Introduction; Principals events in Machiavelli's life; Bibliographical note; Translator's note; Map; Dedicatory letter; 1. The different kinds of principality and how they are acquired; 2. Hereditary principalities; 3. Mixed principalities; 4. Why the Kingdom of Darius, conquered by Alexander, did not rebel against his successors after Alexander's death; 5. How one should govern cities or principalities that, before being conquered, used to live under their own laws; 6. New principalities acquired by one's own arms and ability; 7. New principalities acquired through the power of others and their favour; 8. Those who become rulers through wicked means; 9. The civil principality; 10. How the strength of all principalities should be measured; 11. Ecclesiastical principalities; 12. The different types of army, and mercenary troops; 13. Auxiliaries, mixed troop and negative troops; 14. How a ruler should act concerning military matters; 15. The things for which men, and especially rulers, are praised or blamed; 16. Generosity and meanness; 17. Cruelty and mercifulness; and whether it is better to be loved or feared; 18. How rulers should keep their promises; 19. How contempt and hatred should be avoided; 20. Whether building fortresses, and many other things that rulers frequently do, are useful or not; 21. How a ruler should act in order to gain reputation; 22. The secretaries of rulers; 23. How flatterers should be shunned; 24. Why the rulers of Italy have lost their states; 25. How much power fortune has over human affairs, and how it should be resisted; 26. Exhortation to liberate Italy from the Barbarian yoke; Appendixes; Bibliographical notes; Index of subjects; Index of proper names.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    An Excellent Translation of a Renaissance Classic

    This edition of "The Prince" is an excellent translation and features historical footnotes to help the reader gain a genuine perspective of the socio-political climate in which Machiavelli lived and worked. I feel that this book is a "must read" for anyone interested in political science or the various social and political machinations and manipulation of public opinion that are still being practiced today.

    Like Da Vinci's studies, Machiavelli's observations and advice are still hauntingly relevant in modern times. This book has no doubt been and remains a playbook in the arsenal of politicians, dictators, and despots six centuries after being penned.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    The Secret to Success in Business, Politics, War and Life

    This is a very profund and much misunderstood book. Everyone should read it to know how the world really works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2005

    Chilling

    Machiavelli's The Prince is an eerie read, during which you'll many times stop and reread in disbelief. However, it is a spectacular book to give you an idea of the Italians in the early 1500's, and what they were thinking, what they reacted to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    MUST READ

    This work opens one's mind on how many have ruled their nations. It tells the Do's and Dont's that anyone with a high ranking position should do to rule effectively. It brings to mind how some of our past and current leaders in society have ruled. Its a work left open to every person's own interpretation, it helps one form their own opinion about everyday matters, specially politics and policies.

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