Title: Machiavelli in Hell
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1988
Book Condition: Very Good
Hardcover, good condition, rubs and stains on cover, 24.0x16.5cm, 497pp, dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # a21507
Synopsis: Convinced that a good political leader or "prince new" would have to engage in acts of cruelty and bad faith, Machiavelli faces a predicament: how to justify this evil to prospective leaders themselves and to people at large. This study offers an exploration of how he penetrated this difficulty. Telling the story of Machiavelli's childhood and period of personal crisis following his imprisonment, the author turns to "The Prince", and uses the facts of biography to illuminate how Machiavelli's ideas gathered power and came together to form a unified vision of humankind and the world.
Review: This intellectual biography of the 16th century Italian quotes exclusively from Machiavelli's own words rather than quoting others who commented upon him. In this way de Grazia, a professor at Rutgers, paints a colorful portrait of the man entirely in the context of his time. In The Prince Machiavelli had famously examined the dilemma of the ruler who must find a resolution between political necessity and ethical behavior. By thus inventing 'realpolitik' Machiavelli entered the language of political discourse, and got himself rather a bad name. De Grazia's book, which won a Pulitzer Prize, goes some way to rehabilitating him, suggesting that his immoral means were put to good political ends.
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