Specialists in several facets of Renaissance culture will welcome this translation of the letters of the man hailed as the first modern political theorist. The text, and to a great extent the notes, rest on Volume 3 of Franco Gaeta's Opere di Niccolo Machiavelli (1984). Their contents overwhelmingly deal with the political machinations of the Italian city-states and the jockeyings of France, Spain, England, the German empire, and the Swiss for power in Italy. The letters offer some insight into Machiavelli's familial and extramarital relationships, his business dealings, and his experience of country life. In a general introduction, the editors, who are also the translators (other works include The Comedies of Machiavelli, Univ. Pr. of New England, 1985), discuss Machiavelli as a linguist, storyteller, and stylist. The felicitous translation of the 335 letters (plus eight that cannot be precisely dated), many to his good friend Francesco Vettori, Florentine ambassador to Rome, reveal echoes of The Prince. For academic collections.-Bennett D. Hill, Georgetown Univ.