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The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World by [Powell, Jonathan]
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The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"Intriguing and engaging book... sets up fascinating parallels that prove there is really nothing new in politics" (Financial Times)

"A gloriously indiscreet political memoir... From a unique vantage point he gives brilliantly observed and witty accounts of the vanity of modern European princes... The merit of Powell's memoir is precisely that it lacks the intrusive ego of the big politician" (Dominic Lawson Sunday Times)

"It's a quirky, thoughtful take on the impact of The Prince on modern politics" (Anne McElvoy New Statesman, Books of the Year)

"Anyone who wants an insider's account of what makes politicians tick should read this book" (Peter Mandelson Guardian, Books of the Year)

"It tells us a great deal about the era that has just passed" (Chris Mullin Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year)

Book Description

From a former close adviser to Tony Blair, a devastating, frank and insightful analysis of how power is wielded in the modern world

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 985 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; Reprint edition (31 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0040GJJPM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,863 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a good read, and for those interested in the Blair years, one of the best books from the pro-Blair camp. Powell was the ultimate insider, always at Blair's side. He is searing in his judgement on Gordon Brown, and backs this up with chapter and verse on exactly how Brown was so toxic. I read this soon after reading DC Confidental, Sir Christopher Meyer's book, and it covers much of the same ground (9/11, Iraq etc.). Both are worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Powell Jonathan, The New Machiavelli: How to wield power in the modern world (London, The Bodley Head, 2010)

This is an interesting book, built around Machiavelli; although in the early part Machiavelli seems to get in the way of the story about the Blair days in power. Indeed, it sounds more like the butler's view of what goes on inside No 10 than a text book on `how to wield power'. The picture however, is entertaining, the garden girls, `switch', the comings and goings of ministers and foreign dignitaries.
The flashes of insight also are fascinating, such as the importance of Blair's Chicago speech of 1999, the role of the PM in the European parliament or the need for Europe to be dealt with by a minister in the cabinet office rather than the FCO and the excellent and illuminating assessment on how to be a bridge between the US and Europe.
The curious use of `we' however, puzzled this reader at first. `We won' might be assumed to refer to Labour, but then `we appointed' or we moved out of Downing St makes it clear that it is a royal we of (the unelected) Powell and the PM.
Some of the best chapters however, are the appraisal of `inquiries', or the muddle over Europe, although one misses a candid analysis of the dominating oppressive presence of the Blair wars. Perhaps the subtext should be `how I hate Gordon Brown' as the latter seems to stray onto most pages in a threatening way.
At the end of the book, one is left with a sense of hiatus - the remarkable (unique?)ten year partnership of PM & chancellor and the reasons behind Blair's loyalty to Brown, are never really addressed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a surprising page turner - couldn't put it down.
Fascinating how apropos Macheiveli's observations were regarding the wielding of power, but how Powell, after making such interesting comparisons indicating that flakey Blair and the pathetic nightmare that was Brown, ignored most of Machiaveli's advise, that he still considers Blair will go down in history as one of the best Prime Ministers of all time made me laugh out loud.
That the chaos, incompetence, the downright melicious and mendatious game playing that went on behind the scenes of New Labour, was allowed to carry on for such a long time, thus bringing the general publics attitudue to politics and politicians into the gutter, is truly shocking.
An excellent read but a shaming lesson on how not to behave.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read Great Hatred Little Room I looked forward to reading this book. I was greatly disappointed. The references to Machiavelli are a cover for a selective memoir whose aim seems to be to backstab Gordon Brown, eulogise Tony Blair and settle old scores. He is highly selective and offers no evidence for what is really prejudice an example being "General Dannatt was not up to his job" an assertion made without any facts. In fact most commentators think Dannatt did an excellent job as head of the Army he just didn't agree with the lousy strategic judgements Blair made. He makes startling assertions such as the Coalition Government being a continuation of Blair's policies on schools etc - it could be equally be argued that the later Blair governments merely resurrected Major's policies on schools (city technology colleges as a predecessor of academies) and the internal market in Health. For me the central flaw of the of the book was best exemplified in the last paragraph when he argues that Blair will be seen by history as one of the best Prime Ministers of the last 400 years. After the massive misjudgements and lies surrounding Iraq, the corruption of cash for honours, the personal sleaze of the celebrity holidays etc that claim is simply laughable as sadly is so much of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read the first couple of chapters, I'm finding this book enjoyable and illuminating. Jonathan Powell applies his experiences, working in the upper echelons of the civil service and then as chief of staff to Tony Blair for ten years, to illustrate the principles set out by Niccolo Machiavelli in the classics 'The Prince' and the Discourses which are still widely read by students of politics today. He makes it clear in the preface that "[This book] is confined to looking at the art of government and at the mechanics of power, not why a leader might want to get hold of power or what they would want to do with it once they get hold of it.. it is important that idealistic and optimistic people who come to office understand the reality of how power can be wielded effectively so they can make the country a better place". But I think it's a worthwhile read for *anyone* who wants to be in a better position to participate in our democracy, since it will allow them to understand better the different factors that influence our political leaders in their decisionmaking. And it has funny bits too - Powell can be quite witty.

The chapters are as follows:

Introduction: In Defence of Machiavelli
1. 'Of New Princedoms Which a Prince Acquires With His Own Arms and by Merit': Coming to Power
2. 'The Prince': Leadership
3. Cabinet, the Civil Service and Making Things Happen
4. The Court
5. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor
6. 'Whether it is better to be loved or feared': Politics and Parliament
7. The Importance of Being Strategic
8. Spin Doctors and Media Moguls
9. Scandals, Inquiries and the Police
10. Europe
11. War and Peace
12. Hubris and Leaving Office
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