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The Prince (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Niccolo Machiavelli , George Bull
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 May 2003 Penguin Classics
The Prince shocked Europe on publication with its ruthless tactics for gaining absolute power and its abandonment of conventional morality. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) came to be regarded as some by an agent of the Devil and his name taken for the intriguer 'Machevill' of Jacobean tragedy. For his treatise on statecraft Machiavelli drew upon his own experience of office under the turbulent Florentine republic, rejecting traditional values of political theory and recognizing the complicated, transient nature of political life. Concerned not with lofty ideals, but with a regime that would last, The Prince has become the Bible of realpolitik, and still retains its power to alarm and to instruct.

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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: 19.8 x 12.9 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About 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.

Product Description

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lively and modern translation of Machiavelli 6 Aug 2012
By Keith
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I chose this version of The Prince because it was translated by Tim Parks, an author whose books I've read. Originally from England, he has lived in Italy for the last 20 years. He's produced a lively and modern translation - here's a sample, from the chapter on A Ruler and His Promises; "But you have to know how to disguise your slyness, how to pretend one thing and cover up another. People are so gullible and so caught up with immediate concerns that a con man will always find someone ready to be conned".

The translator explains why he translated The Prince in this style. He also gives a good background to the political situation in early 16th century Italy, when Machiavelli was writing.

The Prince includes references to politicians and statesmen during that era, so there's a brief history of their lives at the back of the book.

What struck me was that although sometimes Machiavelli has a manipulative approach to statemanship, in general his advice is full of insight. In other words, Machiavelli is less Machiavellian than I expected.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prince 22 Jun 2009
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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120 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The virtues of Machiavelli 3 Feb 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for the Power-Hungry 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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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More often cited than read 28 Nov 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
No one can doubt the lasting significance of The Prince, for it is frequently cited in discussions of modern political theory. The work has been often criticized as malevolent, while its original form has been examined less than closely. Such being the case, Machiavelli's intentions are easily misread. His goal was in fact to offer a practical, realistic guide to governing; it is a sad irony that these pragmatic goals have become something philosophically ethereal in the hands of many critics.
The Prince draws from the past and is at the same time applicable to the future. The author was a statesman of moderate capacity as well as member of the social body, a link between the ruler and the ruled. He was driven by a realism that forsook Platonic ideals of justice and virtue, in favor of efficiency, military strength, and power. For Machiavelli, the ends always justified the means. The state's perpetuity was the sole goal to be sought by the ruler. While it is true that Machiavelli voiced a disdain for men, he did not call for their enslavement or complete subordination to the ruler; in fact, he felt that what was best for the state was best for the people.
One must bear in mind the time in which Machiavelli wrote, which was a time of great upheaval in the Italian states. This lack of stability certainly contributed to the author's commitment to strong, lasting government. Nowhere does he condemn democracy nor worship autocracy; in fact, he clearly implies that the particular conditions of any polity best determine the most fitting type of government. He warns the ruler of dangers both from within and without, and recommends in all matters strength of position. When he counsels that virtues, when excessive, can weaken the state, he does not endorse tyranny.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 16 days ago by Wayne green
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read. Arrived quickly
Decided to read this as I never had. Terrific read. Arrived quickly.
Published 16 days ago by William Harvey White
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent translation and the content is as relevent today as ...
English version of the Italian original. Excellent translation and the content is as relevent today as it was in the 16th century.
Published 28 days ago by Schoales Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prince paperback
As described, delivered in good time
Published 1 month ago by mick_mender
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by George
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A superbly written, well-structured book, that is clear and concise. An absolute bargain for the price.
Published 1 month ago by Joshua Pearce
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read hard to believe this book still can have impact
Published 1 month ago by martiie
5.0 out of 5 stars Princely
Bought this book after hearing so much about it. Small book but in perfect condition. Interesting read, and although very out of date has some interesting points!
Published 2 months ago by P Mackintosh
3.0 out of 5 stars a must read
Any one interested in politics has to read this. In Nick's day it was acceptable to liquidate rivals. Not quite sure how this applies today. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joan Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for the ambitious.
Brilliant book as referred to by the great achievers of the world. Small and thin, easy to carry around, would strongly recommend .
Published 3 months ago by chatnoir
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