Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power (Eminent Lives)

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9780060817176: Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power (Eminent Lives)

An elegant new biography in which Ross King re-examines Machiavelli’s legacy.

‘The Prince’, Niccolò Machiavelli’s handbook on power – how to get it and how to keep it – has been enormously influential in the centuries since it was written, garnering a heady mixture of admiration, fear and contempt. Its author, born to an established middle-class family, was no prince himself. Machiavelli worked as a courtier and diplomat for the Republic of Florence, and enjoyed some small fame in his time as the author of bawdy plays and poems. Upon the Medici's return to power, however, he found himself summarily dismissed from the government he had served for decades and exiled from the city where he was born.

In this discerning new biography, Ross King rescues Machiavelli’s legacy from caricature, detailing the vibrant political and social context that influenced his thought and underscoring the humanity of one of history's finest political thinkers. Ross King’s Machiavelli visits fortune-tellers, produces wine on his Tuscan estate, travels Europe tirelessly on horseback as a diplomatic envoy, and is a passionate scholar of antiquity – but above all, a keen observer of human nature.

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Review:

‘In this engrossing short biography...King marries his lightly worn expertise in the Italy of 500 years ago with a flair for rooting cultural landmarks in early realities’ The Independent

‘This is an engaging, revealing biography and a vivid portrait of a city-state in turmoil.’ Financial Times

‘Succintly written and entertaining, wholly worthy of its subject.’ TLS

Praise for ‘Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling’:

‘King is a gifted, judicious, compelling narrator.’ Alan Taylor, Sunday Herald

‘Ross King deftly stitches modern Michelangelo scholarship into his fluent and gripping narrative.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent

From the Back Cover:

The author of The Prince--his controversial handbook on power, which is one of the most influential books ever written--Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was no prince himself. Born to an established middle-class family, Machiavelli worked as a courtier and diplomat for the Republic of Florence and enjoyed some small fame in his time as the author of bawdy plays and poems. In this discerning new biography, Ross King rescues Machiavelli's legacy from caricature, detailing the vibrant political and social context that influenced his thought and underscoring the humanity of one of history's finest political thinkers.

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