The Prince

The Prince

3.9 105
by Niccolo Machiavelli
     
 

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Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist who wrote this book sometime around 1513. In 1512 the Medici's came to power and he lost his post in Florence. It is believed he wrote this book in an effort to win them over and be taken back into politics. It is now the world's most well-known political reference. It is also considered to be the

Overview

Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist who wrote this book sometime around 1513. In 1512 the Medici's came to power and he lost his post in Florence. It is believed he wrote this book in an effort to win them over and be taken back into politics. It is now the world's most well-known political reference. It is also considered to be the first book on modern political philosophy, where effective truth is considered more important than abstract ideals. Therefore, immoral means are acceptable in "The Prince" when used to achieve the aims of princes and politicians seeking personal glory or the advancement of their careers. This may have been necessary during the time it was written, but many, including Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, considered "The Prince" to be more of a satire. Whatever its purpose may have been, it is clearly one of the most brilliant books ever written.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585093496
Publisher:
Book Tree, The
Publication date:
03/03/2012
Pages:
116
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.28(d)

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

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)

Meet the Author

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine statesman who was later forced out of public life. He then devoted himself to studying and writing political philosophy, history, fiction, and drama.

Tim Parks was born in 1954, studied at Cambridge and Harvard, and moved to Italy in 1980. His translations from the Italian include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino and Roberto Calasso He has written a number of novels, including the Booker-shortlisted Europa, and his account of provincial life in Italy, Italian Neighbours, was an international bestseller.

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The Prince 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 105 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
Probably. *shrug*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Flys in "is this a safehaven fir dragons?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History Review I would highly recommend this book because of it's shocking truths. Many people just shrug off Machiavelli because he is associated with heartless things, giving his name a negative connotation. However, if you really dig deep into his work, you can see that by following the rules he laid out, you can sustain a government. I like how Machiavelli has a practical mindset on scenarios rather than an idealistic view. Nothing is ever going to happen the ideal way, so Machiavelli gives multiple possibilities of the same situation to better suit another person's story. If you do want to read this book, I would also recommend reading Introducing Machiavelli beforehand, so that you aren't as confused as you would be just diving in to the book. Though it is a tough read, it is definitely worth it.
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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.
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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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