Intellectual history has bequeathed a venerable place to Machiavelli as the forefather of modern political science. In this, his most famous work, matters political are assessed from a perspective so radical that Machiavelli has remained a controversial figure from the very first appearance of The Prince.
Viewing the political climate of sixteenth-century Italy from the standpoint of one who had mastered the classic works of political philosophy and had experienced the volatility of public office, Machiavelli lays bare the pulsating anatomy of political power with uncanny precision. In the guise of advising present and would-be princes on the critical subjects of acquiring, maintaining, and expanding their political foothold, as well as the dangers that threaten to undermine those who head governments, Machiavelli beckons all of us to become aware of practical politicsthe science and the art of statecraft.
Niccolò Macchiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian political philosopher who held various political offices in Florence, including secretary to the Florentine executive council. In 1512, when the Medici family came to power, Macchiavelli was forced out of office and imprisoned for a time. He subsequently retired to his estate and devoted himself to the history of Florence and other literary endeavors. His most famous work is
The Prince, containing his theory of government and maxims for practical statecraft.
"The introduction is excellent--it places Machiavelli's career and his writings in a persuasive historical context, underlines the inherent limitations of any interpretation that hails him as a 'modern man, ' and is written with verve and brio." --John D. O'Connor
University of New Orleans