This well researched and scholarly work is more than biography; it’s a brief history of renaissance Europe particularly Italy. Besides politics, the author touches on art, religion, family and social convention. The book is well worth reading. Great job, Mr. Unger!
Machiavelli was neither saint nor demon. He was a pragmatist... the father of pragmatists. He described man as he found them. He said, “...all men are wicked and... will always give vent to the malignity that is in their minds when opportunity offers.” We dislike both this characterization and the person who would so characterize us. Others spoke of how to rule justly while in power; Mr. M. of the how to rule effectively and remain in power, whether in a dictatorship or a republic. He believes that the end justifies the means—even lies, pretense, treachery if unavoidable—as long as the end is desirable. The man, if not a Stoic was certainly stoical. Look at how he faced his imprisonment and torture.
Machiavelli is not for the squeamish. The author says of Machiavellian-style politics, “Those concerned for their immortal souls might want to find a different line of work.” As I read, my mind kept running back to the recent election south of the border. I shall watch Mr. Trump and see if Machiavelli’s influence is seen in the new President’s leadership style.
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