A tactically-minded man creates an instruction manual for action and understanding in the realm of high-lords of kingdoms.
At under 70 pages, this book may be thin but it's incredibly dense. I found myself reading paragraphs three times before moving on. Although nothing in it surprised me, I can still easily recommend it. It's been, somehow, given a bad name. I only found a slight tinge of "evil" creeping in at about the half-way mark, but nothing inexcusable.
I understood it well enough to add strong commentary, and to give much improved explanation in the latter half which draws from the former. It's interesting to me that the author himself didn't catch on to the trends in his own advice.
When people use the word Machiavellian, they are referring to a mindset in agreement with this work.
- ISBN 978-0-486-27274-0
- 1910 translation by N. H. Thompson
- Originally published in Volume 36 of The Harvard Classics.
Back cover ∞
As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his "primer for princes." In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples. Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well.