A mix of both professional discourse and personal, it provided an interesting glimpse at this man's life and times. Take a good long time to read this, and depending on your goals find someone to discuss it with, particularly his treatises and political letters.
Ever since the first Ex Urbe post on Machiavelli, http://www.exurbe.com/?p=1429 in July 2012, I have been reading something by him. Either you already love Machiavelli or you need to read the Ex Urbe posts about him and then read this book.
A walk thru the mind of a genius An exceptional collection of works and letters by Machiavelli.
Also the fifteenth of thirty-six great books, in Professor Fears course, that I have finished in retirement. The Prince 3 of Mixed Principalities There is a great deal here that should have made us more careful with Iraq at every step. The Prince 6 of Principalities Acquired Through Arms and Skill p. . a prince who does not understand military matters will not be respected by his soldiers and cannot trust them. The Prince 17 of Cruelty and Mercy, and Whether it Is Better to Be Loved than Feared, or the Contrary p. The Prince 25 on the Extent to Which Fortune Wields Power in the Affairs of Men, and on How This is to Be Resisted p. The Discourses I Chapter One - On the Origins of Cities in General, and Rome in Particular p. This is the very argument of "Underdevelopment is a State of Mind." The Discourses I Chapter Two - On How Many Kinds of Republic There Are, and What Kind the Roman Republic Was The "Greek cycle" is explained on p. The Discourses I Chapter Three - On the Incidents That Led to the creation of the Plebeian Tribunes in Rome, Which Made the Republic More Perfect p. The Discourses I Chapter 6 misses the effect of the "new men" that arose from the physical empire. In the annals of ancient history there are countless examples that demonstrate the difficulty a populace that is accustomed to living under a prince have in conserving their freedom should they by some chance obtain it, as the Romans did after the Tarquins were expelled. The Discourses 1 Chapter 50 p. The Discourses 1 Chapter 50 p. As a result of this, the men of the Church can be as evil as they wish, because they do not fear a punishment they cannot see and do not believe in. This French 100 Years War experience, during 14th century, that led to the professionalization of the army, greatly increasing the power of the State. 300 - 301 he entirely misses that he is discussing the "new men" that arouse due to the expansion of the Roman (physical) Empire. The most enduring power is the state which has loyal subject who love their prince.
I think people miss that this book was to serve a purpose for its author that it might not purely have been meant for advice to a Medici prince that in fact had put Machiavelli under torture and questioning prior to the writing of this book.
However, this lack of total inclusion only spurred me to pursue The Art of War on my own. Still, considering Machiavelli's own admission, I think a chunk of the discourses and other pieces could have been sacrificed for the total inclusion of his self-proclaimed master work.
Read this if you want to see Niccolo Machiavelli, the politician, the diplomat, the historian, the fiction writer.
Well, surprisingly, after you waded through his essays on contemporary political matters.