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Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World by…

Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World

by Erica Benner

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Read 'The Prince' many years ago in school and remember liking it a great deal. Had been eager to red this, especially considering the life and times we live in and perhaps how maybe a few more of our politicians could read someone like Machiavelli. Since it had been so long I had forgotten that the premise was that Benner wanted to look at his life and legacy and examine whether we should call things "Machiavellian" given what he may or may not have meant.

Benner interweaves Machiavelli's biography with his writings plus the political and societal context of his life in an attempt to paint a more full picture of him but I'm not sure if I can buy her premise. It probably has to do a lot with my lack of familiarity with this time period and the history around it in general but I just didn't find the book particularly compelling. I thought it might have worked better if perhaps Benner had taken his work and worked around the context instead of trying to put the writings in the context of the history. Goal remains the same but I wasn't interested in a lot of the details.

Overall the feeling I got was that it was just better to read 'The Prince'. Other people (particularly political scientists, students, etc.) may find this useful. It may have been too long/I should have re-read 'The Prince' to get a better understanding for me.

Glad my library had this. Recommend as a borrow unless you need it for extensive research. ( )
  acciolibros | Apr 17, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393609723, Hardcover)

The dramatic, myth-shattering story of how Machiavelli, the most misunderstood thinker of all time, fought to change his corrupt world.

Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Machiavelli has been associated with political amorality. But that characterization is unfair. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner sets the historical record straight: far from the ruthless “Machiavellian” henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence.

Masterfully interweaving his words with those of his friends and enemies, this dramatic new book takes us on a journey into Machiavelli’s world and mind. His egalitarian politics made him an enemy of the super-wealthy Medici family, and his secular outlook put him at odds with religious zealots. But he sometimes had to mask his true convictions, becoming an artist of foxlike dissimulation.

In Be Like the Fox, the most accurate and compelling portrait of Machiavelli yet, Erica Benner shows that Machiavelli’s ideas―about democratic institutions, diplomacy, and freedom―are more important than ever.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 12 Feb 2017 03:24:25 -0500)

"Far from the ruthless Machiavellian henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence. Shaking the dust from history, Benner ... interweaves Machiavelli's words with those of his friends and enemies, giving us a biography with all the energy of fiction"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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