The Prince

The Prince

3.9 101
by Niccolo Machiavelli

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This is an excellent, readable and vigorous translation of The Prince, but it is much more than simply a translation. The map, notes and guide to further reading are crisp, to-the-point and yet nicely comprehensive. The inclusion of the letter to Vettori is most welcome. But, above all, the Introduction is so gripping and lively that it has convinced me to

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This is an excellent, readable and vigorous translation of The Prince, but it is much more than simply a translation. The map, notes and guide to further reading are crisp, to-the-point and yet nicely comprehensive. The inclusion of the letter to Vettori is most welcome. But, above all, the Introduction is so gripping and lively that it has convinced me to include The Prince in my syllabus for History of Western Civilization the next time that I teach it. . . . Great price, too! And lovely printing and layout. --Rachel Fulton, University of Chicago

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The translation is lively and readable and makes the pithy, bracing, and forceful aspects of Machiavelli's thought accessible to nonspecialists. --Michael C. Downs, Indiana University

The best edition of The Prince that I have ever read. Wootton's translation is lively and easy to read, and his introduction is provocative and engaging. --Angelo Louisa, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Product Details

Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Hpc Classics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)

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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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What People are saying about this

John M. Najemy
I still consider Atkinson's translation of The Prince the best of the many . . . out there, especially with its extensive and extraordinarily valuable commentary. (John M. Najemy, Professor of History, Cornell University, 2007)
Mario Domandi
This edition of the The Prince has three distinct and disparate objectives: to provide a fresh and accurate translation; to analyze and find the roots of Machiavelli's thought; and to collect relevant extracts from other works by Machiavelli and some contemporaries, to be used to illuminate and explicate the text. The objectives are all reached with considerable and admirable skill. The reader senses Professor Atkinson's empathy and feeling for even the tiniest movements in Machiavelli's mind. Professor Atkinson has done a great service to students and teachers of Machiavelli, who should certainly welcome this as the most useful edition of The Prince in English. (Mario Domandi, Italica, 1978)

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The Prince 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
stitchworthy More than 1 year ago
Had to read this book for school. Not my favorite book, but should you wish to read the classic, this is definitely the best FREE version out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History Review This Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is not as it is believed to be by some people. It's not heartless, and the opposite way to rule a government. He has a clear way of stating how a ruler should rule. It's about keeping unity among citizens, and using power, without abusing it. I would recommend this book because it has a way of making you look at government differently. It is also a great way of learning how people thought on military tactics for that time period, which were important for that time period. I like how Machiavelli was quick to make his point; he wasn’t wasting any time making his points. Since there wasn’t a lot of extra writing to decipher. it helped to understand what he was writing. Since the points came straight out, it made the book shorter, which was a nice size for a book on politics. The book was still a little tough at first, but as I read it got easier, it helped that I read Introducing Machiavelli by Patrick Curry and Oscar Zarate. Even if you aren’t a history buff, this book may take time to read, but it is worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Machiavelli has a bad reputation but this is because people judge him by this work alone. This is because he was not wtiting about the way things should be but the way things were/are. For another view of a differing side of his thinking read his "Discourses on Livy". The Prince is a book that should be read by everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Prince is not the heartless manual on backstabbing it is often portrayed as being. Rather Machiavelli seems most interested in issuing a wake up call to Italian leaders to get better at their jobs so as to protect Italy from becoming the plaything of foreign powers. It is interesting to note that Jefferson could read the Prince and extract not a lesson of ruthlessness, but rather the idea that a republic founded on popular support was safer and more durable than one based on the ambitions of a few selfish nobles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The truth is I thought that this book was surprisingly not as chilling as some have made it out to be, for example, I realize that when invading befriending the weak to take down the ruler but keeping those weak powers weak is by no means a nice thing to do. But in the end I saw this book as.... optimistic maybe. One thing he said stuck with me that a great ruler(one to go down in history) is not a tyrant who increases his nations size for personal gain but for the country itself. That was on my first reading, I'll reread it and maybe with more understanding I will find it as chilling as it is made out to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Machiavelli was vain, a liar, gained wealth and influence by any means. He was a key player in the government of Florence in the 15th century. Along with Medici, they were bank owners, they lent money out and got more back and broke bons doing it. He was an accosiate to the most corrupt popes in history. His interests outside himself were to preserve himself. Towards the end of his life he decided to write as to how to make it in a social class like that. A book of strategies of exploitation and coercian. I give it five stars because one cannot help but admire such a crook, and how honest he is about how he became one. True story too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GEO1300 More than 1 year ago
A "must" read for any student of human behavior.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
modernsophist More than 1 year ago
Reading this book i can understand how Niccolo machiavelli is considered the father of political science and how his observations of rulers has affected our political atmosphere. His observations and examples arise in a time were wars for power and land were prevalent and allow for a very old understanding of the different types of political principalities and how to adequately rule over them. Anyone interested in politics or history should have this in their collection
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AP World History Review I thought that this book was a very good book. This book linked the things that we were going over in history class now.  I learned a lot about the middle ages while reading this book.  I learned about the military tactics and how a ruler should rule his kingdom while reading this book.   This book was very insightful with helping me learn about the middle ages.   This book really focused on the credentials that a good ruler in the middle ages is suppose to have. Machiavelli talks about four things in his book. He talks about the types of principalities, the types of armies, the character and behavior of a good ruler, and how all of these affected Italy. This is a good book for people who are into the middle ages. It is also good for people who like to learn about certain types of history, as in the middle ages. I really learned through this book that a ruler in the middle ages has to be like a dictator in the world today. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I think that other history buffs will like this book also. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History Review: A Crazy Man and his Dreams The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli, is a novel dedicated to instructing a prince on how to run his country. For the most part, the novel speaks of how a ruler should act and appear. Machiavelli states that a ruler should appear generous and caring, when instead he should be a treacherous maniac with a motive to keep his power. Although the book at first seems to be directed towards all rulers, nearing the end, it seems to be intended specifically towards Italy and its broken government. It seems Machiavelli is trying to instruct a specific individual, Lorenzo de’ Medici, on how to be a suitable leader for his people. In the final chapter of the book, Machiavelli states that Lorenzo is Italy’s only hope. If the proposed motive for the book stated above is correct, I believe Machiavelli successfully laid out a suitable infrastructure for Italy’s new government. His methods for maintaining power may be cruel and immoral, and he did also provide other, more virtuous, proposals. However, he did insist using the evil methods, with which I highly disagree. Overall, I would not recommend this book, mainly due to my boredom throughout the read. However, for those interested in the layout of government, the book should be interesting and, perhaps, fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago