Machiavelli’s Prince: A New Reading

Why did Machiavelli write the Prince - and why did religious and political authorities find it so threatening? Five hundred years on, this book tries to answer these questions.

In the first detailed, chapter-by-chapter reading of the Prince in any language, Erica Benner shows that the book is a masterpiece of ironic writing. Machiavelli’s style is deliberately ambiguous: he often seems to say one thing, but gives readers clues that point toward a very different message. Beyond its ‘Machiavellian’ surface, the Prince has a surprisingly moral purpose. It teaches readers how to recognize hidden dangers in political conduct that merely appears great or praiseworthy - and to mistrust promises of easy solutions to political problems.

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