Be Like The Fox

A myth-shattering portrait of one of history’s most celebrated, most notorious political thinkers: Niccolo Machiavelli.

Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Niccolo Machiavelli has become a byword for political amorality. But in Be Like The Fox, Erica Benner reveals instead an ardent republican whose life was a passionate struggle to restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence, a city wrecked by greed, power and decades of conflict.

This intimate, groundbreaking new book takes us on a journey into Machiavelli’s world and into his mind. Machiavelli was a man with a great love of life: entertaining, tolerant, charismatic - and above all, wise and deeply humane. In exploring his encounters, relationships and, in particular, his conversations, Benner shows how he developed some of the most influential political ideas of all time.

Why are people so easily taken in by appearances? What’s the point of education? Why should we pray? How can we fight moral and political corruption? In this myth-shattering portrait, Benner shows that Machiavelli’s answers to these questions have vital significance for the way we think about our world today.

Born and raised in Japan, Erica Benner divides her time between her home in Berlin and Yale University. Her books include Machiavelli’s Ethics (Princeton UP) and Machiavelli’s Codes (OUP, forthcoming). Now a fellow at Yale University, she has taught at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, and was a visiting professor at Warsaw University and the Central European University.