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The Prince (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Niccolò Machiavelli , Maurizio Viroli , Peter Bondanella
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 10 Feb 2005 --  
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The Prince (Oxford World's Classics) The Prince (Oxford World's Classics) 4.6 out of 5 stars (22)
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Book Description

10 Feb 2005 Oxford World's Classics
'A prince must not have any other object nor any other thought...but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only art befitting one who commands.' When Machiavelli's brief treatise on Renaissance statecraft and princely power was posthumously published in 1532, it generated a debate that has raged unabated until the present day. Based upon Machiavelli's first-hand experience as an emissary of the Florentine Republic to the courts of Europe, The Prince analyses the usually violent means by which men seize, retain, and lose political power. Machiavelli added a dimension of incisive realism to one of the major philosophical and political issues of his time, especially the relationship between public deeds and private morality. His book provides a remarkably uncompromising picture of the true nature of power, no matter in what era or by whom it is exercised. This fluent new translation is accompanied by comprehensive notes and an introduction that considers the true purpose of The Prince and dispels some of the myths associated with it.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New edition edition (10 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019280426X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192804266
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,401 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


Literary scholar Peter Bondanella rightly seeks the cold elegance and readability of the original. Serious English readers will want both translations. (Lauro Martines, TLS)

About the Author

Peter Bondanella is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian at Indiana University. Maurizio Viroli is Professor of Politics at Princeton University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The virtues of Machiavelli 23 Jun 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Modern Translation Which is Easy to Read 22 May 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is about power and the politics of maintaining it for an individual. It is a classic of Renaissance Literature which inspired hot debate in its day and continues to exercise us now. This translation by Peter Bondanello is marvellous and really makes the work accessible and makes it seem incredibly modern and pertinent.

The book is written as a kind of rhetorical set piece, supposedly to the head of the Medici family in which Machiavelli purports to curry favour and gain a position of his own by explaining how someone powerful might go about becoming the saviour of Italy from the ravages of the foreign invaders it was suffering from at the time.

The Introduction by Maurizio Viroli is well worth reading, explaining some of the more complex issues and high lighting key themes in the text. He also debates whether this was in fact a begging letter from Machiavelli or more a show of skill on his part for the sake of skill itself.

My one criticism would be that the idea of 'virtu' is here translated as 'virtue', and further readings (particularly of the excellent OUP A Very Short Introduction To) show that the Renaissance idea of 'virtu' and our modern definition of 'virtue' are not the same, and yet the idea of 'virtu' is what a great deal of Machiavellian thought hinges upon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 20 Sep 2010
I enjoyed this book immensely, and I speak as someone who is not a politics or history student. The political aspect to the book is not beyond anyone with a good basic understanding, but some of the references which Machiavelli makes to events and persons in history might require some looking up.

Definitely read this book if you are interested in Realpolitik, or even just Renaissance politcs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Machiavelli's infamous manual on political power 16 Dec 2010
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
The end justifies the means. This simple, pragmatic maxim underpins Niccolò Machiavelli's classic work, The Prince. Written in 1513, when Machiavelli was a Florentine registry official, this handbook of political power provoked controversy like no other. Its central theme is how Renaissance rulers should act if they want to prevail. According to the author, a strong state requires a leader who is able to defend his power at all costs. Machiavelli maintains that a ruler may deceive, trick, oppress and even murder his opponents, as long as his misdeeds serve the state's stability. Without question, this short treatise offers enough material to demonize its author. However, Machiavelli does not champion unlimited ruthlessness and violence. Nor does he justify any objectives that seem to warrant violence. However, he also does not try to align his work to Christian morals as he examines the practice of statecraft and leadership. The term "Machiavellian" emerged in the 16th century to describe a devious, cruel tyrant, who uses any means to achieve his goals. When 20th century dictators praised Machiavelli's masterpiece, it came into disrepute, but in contemporary thought, its literary foresight makes it a classic. Modern readers will be able to understand the book's significance thanks to the accessible translation and annotations by Peter Bondanella. To put the treatise in context, Maurizio Viroli explains in his introduction, "For Machiavelli, the old way of building and preserving a regime...had to be abandoned in order to embrace a new conception...based on the principle that no state is a true dominion unless it is sustained by an army composed of citizens or subjects." getAbstract recommends The Prince to literature and history buffs, be they subjects or citizens, and to strategists and political scientists as a core work in their field.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Famous youth gives advice for all - not just kings.
Original Machiavelii, a young man with ideas he would have had to alter with age! Arrogant, selfish and atyipical of youth. Excellent condition and fast delivery. Thanks
Published 12 days ago by Ms. A. J. Airey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book
Published 1 month ago by Maria teresa rios Casal
4.0 out of 5 stars Machiavellian
You know a book is good when the author didn't want it published until after his death and then it's still quoted many years later. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Den
5.0 out of 5 stars Eventually
I had ordered this early enough for a present for my son Christmas after watching a TV program on it. Unfortunately it never arrived. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jenny Wren
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting historical document
This is a very interesting document - a basis for future political science and philosophy. The translation is quite good and the book fairly easy to read despite its age. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jacob la Cour
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant after so many years
Spot on analysis of the science of power, a timeless classic. the book is also very well explained in the literary notes.
Published 7 months ago by Zac Vallely
3.0 out of 5 stars For people with ambition
The end justifies being a nice nasty. For future political,business,military types. A nasty bastard's bible.Stuffed with Italian history and what the French and Spanish got up to.
Published 8 months ago by John Barclay
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good price. Good value. Interesting read.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. J. F. Palmeri
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
I rated this book highly because of its historical importance and because of my satisfaction with the service I have had from this seller and I am unable to withdraw an earlier... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Byron Ashton
5.0 out of 5 stars The Prince
First time reading this in 10 years. As good as I remember it when I first read it in school.
Published 13 months ago by Tomas Milligan
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