Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power (Eminent Lives)

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9780061768927: Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power (Eminent Lives)

Part of the acclaimed Eminent Lives series, Machiavelli is a superb portrait of the brilliant and revolutionary political philosopher—history’s most famous theorist of “warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed”—and the age he embodied. Ross King, the New York Times bestselling author of Brunelleschi’s Dome, argues that the author of The Prince was a far more complex and sympathetic character than is often portrayed.

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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 (1469–1527) 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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From the Back Cover:

The author of The Prince—his controversial handbook on power, which is one of the most influential books ever written—Niccolò 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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