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Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by [Skinner, Quentin]
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Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Review

"ÝAn¨ excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College
"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College


"[An] excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College
"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College



"[An] excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College
"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College


"[An] excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College
"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College



"[An] excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College


"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College


Synopsis

Niccolo Machiavelli taught that political leaders must be prepared to do evil that good may come of it, and his name has been a byword ever since for duplicity and immorality. Is his sinister reputation deserved? In answering this question Quentin Skinner focuses on three major works, The Prince, The Discources , and The History of Florence , and distils from them an introduction to Machiavelli's doctrines of exemplary clarity. This book is intended for students from sixth-form level upwards of politics, history, the Renaissance.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 599 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (12 Oct. 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0058C6F3Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,353 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Machiavelli inspires a never-ending stream of academic studies and biographies which violently disagree with one another. But it will be a brave author who will disagree with Quentin Skinner, who says more of interest in this small book than dozens of his predecessors combined. If you read this, along with Isaiah Berlin's essay on "The Originality of Machiavelli" and Sebastian de Grazia's biography, you can save yourself a decade or so of leafing through the chaff.
It's really amazing how Skinner writes on his subject with such precision given the difficulty others have had in pinning Machiavelli down. He has a genuine gift for explaining arcane academic principles in a simple, clear and interesting way. This doesn't mean that he evades the more doubtful issues and ambiguities regarding Machiavelli - he just has great judgement in spotting which are important and which are meaningless wrangles. I like reading this book almost as much as I like reading Machiavelli.
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Format: Paperback
I suppose there is a certain irony in reading Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction, for in doing so you indulge in the machiavellian trait that the means justify the end (or as Niccolo himself more eloquently puts it "though the deed accuses him, the results excuse him"). Ramming the history, context, treatise and fundamentals of Machiavellian philosophy into 100 pages is no mean feat. Notwithstanding the small writing.
After 100 pages of squinting you feel altogether more erudite, possibly confident enough to pub-challenge the use of the adjective 'machiavellian' as an inappropriate representation of the man's philosophy. You could lecture ad nauseam that Machiavelli preached, not that you should be duplicitous for the sake of duplicity, or immoral for the sake of immorality, but only as sensible strategies should the circumstances dictate. One in the eye for Cicero, Livy and his humanist pals. Seems pretty obvious to us rational, philisophically enlightened, media-educated children of Darwin. But to have said so to Machiavelli would probably have been an anachronism.
Power to Niccolo, the man spoke sense. Power to Mr Skinner, a virtuoso perfomance.
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By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Knowing Machiavelli only by reputation and starting a course of Renaissance study I found the amount of material available by and about him rather overwhelming. Having had great experiences with the OUP Very Short Introduction To series before I made this my starting point.

Skinner does a great job of condensing a significant amount of material into readily understandable, bite sized chunks. He focuses on three areas of his life, the writing of The Prince, the Discourses and his work as a Florentine historian. He attempts to understand the driving force of the man and his motivation in writing, particularly in relation to the key idea of virtus, which Machiavelli sees as a key quality in a leader, a successful state and a successful country.

I now feel prepared to tackle Machiavelli's work head on, with a great guide to help me. An excellent resource.
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Format: Paperback
The Very Short Introduction series by Oxford University Press has a good reputation for presenting challenging subjects in an easily accessible manner. Quentin Skinner's contribution, "Machiavelli", charts the life, career and major works of one of the most famous figures of Renaissance Italy, a man whose theories have had great influence on modern political thought, but who has been much misrepresented.

On the whole this is a good, straightforward account of Machiavelli's life and works, and even though the material feels very densely presented, Skinner's style and argument are generally clear. He traces the development of Machiavelli's political thought, from both his contemporary exemplars and Roman models (authors such as Livy and Sallust), showing both how drew on these sources and how he diverged from them, at every stage backing up his arguments with examples from the texts. Unfortunately it is difficult to get a sense of perspective on Machiavelli, since we are offered little clue as to how other historians have responded to the man's work in the centuries since his death. It is disappointing, too, that Skinner does not, in the end, come to any real conclusions himself about the man or his ideas, or his continuing relevance in the modern world. As a result the book as a whole feels slightly lacking in structure.

For the casual reader, or someone reading about Machiavelli for the first time, the material may initially feel quite daunting or overly-academic. More space could have been devoted to explaining the world of Machiavelli and the socio-political situation of Renaissance Italy c. 1500, to root the reader in the period first of all. One notable omission is that of a political map of the peninsula, which might have helped in providing some context.
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