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The Prince (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 8 May 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 1 edition (8 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449150
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 0.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

[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"

About the Author

Niccoló Machiavelli (1469-1527) was appointed secretary and Second Chancellor to the Florentine Republic in 1498. He was dismissed from his post in 1512 and forced to withdraw from public life, after which time he wrote THE PRINCE, a handbook for rulers. GEORGE BULL translated widely from the Italian, including for Penguin Classics including Cellini's 'Autobiography' and Vasari's 'Lives of the Artists'. ANTHONY GRAFTON teaches European intellectual history at Princeton University.

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First Sentence
Men who are anxious to win the favour of a Prince nearly always follow the custom of presenting themselves to him with the possessions they value most, or with things they know especially please him; so we often see princes given horses, weapons, cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments worthy of their high position. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Turner on 22 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a book which has been on my "must read" for ages. I only wish I had read it before. I think I can already pick out the people who live by its rules. A true classic.
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125 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 3 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
In the course of my political science training, I studied at great length the modern idea of realpolitik. In that study I came to realise that it was somewhat incomplete, without the companionship of The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli, a Florentine governmental official in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The Prince is an oft quoted, oft mis-quoted work, used as the philosophical underpinning for much of what is considered both pragmatic and wrong in politics today. To describe someone as being Machiavellian is to attribute to the person ruthless ambition, craftiness and merciless political tactics. Being believed to be Machiavellian is generally politically incorrect. Being Machiavellian, alas, can often be politically expedient.
Machiavelli based his work in The Prince upon his basic understanding of human nature. He held that people are motivated by fear and envy, by novelty, by desire for wealth, power and security, and by a hatred of restriction. In the Italy in which he was writing, democracy was an un-implemented Greek philosophical idea, not a political structure with a history of success; thus, one person's power usually involved the limitation of another person's power in an autocratic way.
Machiavelli did not see this as a permanent or natural state of being -- in fact, he felt that, during his age, human nature had been corrupted and reduced from a loftier nobility achieved during the golden ages of Greece and Rome. He decided that it was the corrupting influence of Christianity that had reduced human nature, by its exaltation of meekness, humility, and otherworldliness.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alaska on 13 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is not a review of The Prince as this has already been done very adequately by previous reviewers, and it is indeed a brilliant political writing. However the Dover Thrift edition of it isn't the best, its printed on very cheap paper and bound in a cheap cover, this may not be important for some people. If you just need to standard text for quick reference then this is good enough but if you want a bit more of a substantial book with a very good introduction then I would spend a couple more quid and buy the Penguin edition (which I have just done).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S.E. Haughton on 8 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The infamous Niccolo and his famous work. I purchased this book for my Politics course at University and Machiavelli was the first thinker we studied this year, with this book being the focus.

Remember, the "Prince" is someone who holds a position of power, or is destined to or wishes to hold a position of power, and the book is the manifesto that that individual must adhere to in order to attain and sustain power.

You can understand why The Prince continues to take people by surprise, but with an open mind you can understand where Machiavelli is coming from, although most people would disagree with the slightly barbaric tone that runs throughout.

A vital book to own for any political thinker, student or someone who simply holds an interest in political theory and history or even the history of Italy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wuzzle on 17 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Great cheap edition of this book. Not the best quality paper, so probably not the best idea for a present. However, if you just want to read the book yourself its more than adequate. Giving it 5 stars due to its value for money.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. O. Ogunwusi on 24 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Machiavelli raises the worrisome spectre that power is a stranger to morality. The atrocious standards of ruthlessness that a ruler often has to observe to acquire and maintain power buttress the claim that absolute power corrupts absolutely; because great men are almost always, bad men. It is the authentic bible of the cult of power.
The Prince is a jarring testament that the gilded corridors of power as portrayed by the kleiglights only mask the true pathway, a road filled with the blood and corpses of the squeamish and fainthearted. These same words Alexander the Great had put accross with robust military poetry: fortuna favore fortis!
Indeed, power is not everything. It is the only thing.
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Format: Paperback
Niccolo Machiavelli may represent the epitome of a politician born in the wrong age. Nowadays anyone as politically astute and accomplished as Machiavelli undoubtedly was would make sure that they had a slick PR team in place, ready to put a positive spin on their every utterance. Even then, things can come adrift. In recent years even as experienced a political operator as Peter, now Lord, Mandleson, New Labour spin doctor extraordinaire, though having a whole team of press consultants and PR men at his behest, found his ceaseless machinations earned him a reputation for duplicity and divisiveness, rendering him a hissing and a byword within his own party, let alone among his Conservative opponents. Yet even Lord Mandelson didn't suffer the vilification and revulsion that have attached themselves to Machiavelli over the last six centuries.

The very word 'machiavellian' carries with it a heavy semantic weighting, with connotations of intricate and decidedly underhand plotting; shameful manoeuvres best left in the shadows, hidden from view. There is even a solid body of belief that ascribes the origin of the Devil's cognomen 'Old Nick' as a reference to Machiavelli's practice of the dark arts of political persuasion, and to this work in particular.

Florence in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries may have been at the centre of the Renaissance, but it was also a hub of political and military activity. Machiavelli had held public office during the brief history of the Republic of Florence before the Medici dynasty reasserted itself. As so often befalls senior in times of violent regime change, Machiavelli found himself imprisoned and even tortured in 1512.
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