Machiavelli grew up at a time when the excesses of the church were more under scrutiny than at any time since Constantine. As Savonarola was decrying Florentine governmental excesses in the 1490s, Machiavelli's star was on the rise. The same year that Savonarola was executed for heresy, Machiavelli began his career as a diplomat and, as Savonarola presaged the Reformation, Machiavelli became an early champion of pragmatism. Il Principe ("The Prince") eschews the idealism of the politics of its age and espouses the realistic political situation that, to a great extent, it inspired.
Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power.
Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince what he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government and is the ultimate book on power politics.
In the foreword to this edition of W.K. Marriott's classic translation, author Michael Ennis delves into the motivations and machinations behind Machiavelli's work. As a bonus, this e-book includes five chapters from Ennis's novel, The Malice of Fortune, a heart-pounding, mind-bending mystery that pits Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci against a ruthless serial killer, set in the seething heart of Borgia politics.
NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI(1469527) was born in Florence. He served the Florentine republic as secretary and second chancellor but was expelled from public life when the Medici family returned to power in 1512. His other works include The Discourses, The Art of War, and the comic satire The Mandrake.
MICHAEL ENNIS studied history at the University of California, Berkeley, taught art history at the University of Texas, Austin, and developed museum programs as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. He is the author of two historical novels, The Duchess of Milan and Byzantium. He has written for Esquire and Architectural Digest and is a regular contributor to Texas Monthly. He lives in Dallas with his television producer wife, Ellen, and their daughter, Arielle.
“[Machiavelli] can still engage our attention with remarkable immediacy, and this cannot be explained solely by the appeal of his ironic observations on human behaviour. Perhaps the most important thing is the way he can compel us to reflect on our own priorities and the reasoning behind them; it is this intrusion into our own defenses that makes reading him an intriguing experience. As a scientific exponent of the political art Machiavelli may have had few followers; it is as a provocative rhetorician that he has had his real impact on history.” –from the Introduction by Dominic Baker-Smith