Niccolò Machiavelli is the most influential political writer of all time. His name has become synonymous with cynical scheming and the selfish pursuit of power, but the real Machiavelli, says Miles Unger, was a deeply humane and perceptive writer whose controversial theories were a response to the violence and corruption he saw around him.
Machiavelli’s philosophy was shaped by the tumultuous age in which he lived, an age of towering geniuses and brutal tyrants. His first political mission was to spy on the fire-and-brimstone preacher Savonarola. He was on intimate terms with Leonardo and Michelangelo. As a diplomat, he matched wits with the corrupt Pope Alexander VI and his son, the infamous Cesare Borgia, whose violent career served as a model for The Prince. Analyzing their successes and failures, Machiavelli developed his revolutionary approach to power politics. His famous book is a guide that is based on the world as it is, not as it should be.
Miles Unger has relied on original Italian sources as well as his own deep knowledge of Florence in writing this fascinating and authoritative account of a genius whose work remains as relevant today as when he wrote it.