Synopses & Reviews
Machiavelli taught that political leaders must be prepared to do evil that good may come of it. Offering the first brief introduction to Machiavelli's thought to appear in twenty-five years, Skinner focuses on his three major works, The Prince
, and The History of Florence
. He discusses the influence of Roman moral thought on Machiavelli, concentrating on the extent to which Machiavelli's teachings represent a reaction against this tradition. Placing Machiavelli in the proper social and intellectual context, Skinner reveals the extraordinary originality of his attack on the prevailing moral and political assumptions of his age.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
"[An] excellent brief study, incorporating much recent research effectively without losing the author's own distinctive viewpoint. Lucidly written. A fine contribution."--Marcia L. Colish, Oberlin College
"An exceptionally lucid biographical sketch and analysis of Machiavelli's ideology. For beginning students of this subject, I have never found anything better."--James E. McGoldrick, Cedarville College
Niccolo Machiavelli taught that political leaders must be prepared to do evil that good may come of it, and his name has been a byword ever since for duplicity and immorality. Is his sinister reputation deserved? In answering this question Quentin Skinner focuses on three major works, The Prince, the Discourses, and The History of Florence, and distills from them an introduction to Machiavelli of exemplary clarity.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. The Diplomat; 2. The Adviser to Princes; 3. The Philosopher of Liberty; 4. The Historian of Florence.