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The Essential Writings of Machiavelli

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, Peter Constantine has assembled a comprehensive collection that shows the true depth and breadth of a great Renaissance thinker. Refreshingly accessible, these superb new translations are faithful to Machiavelli’s original, beautifully crafted writings.

The volume features essays that appear in English for the first time, such as “A
Paperback, 544 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Modern Library
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Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Like others who've read this text I find it a very interesting and refreshing, if at times dry, look at the views of one of the foremost political theorists of all time. It also allows one to see the man, rather than the political theorist.

My reading of this book has lead me to conclude, much like my reading of his 'Art of War', that those who use the term 'Machiavellian' and cite him as endorsing 'the ends justify the means' simply have no idea what he was about. Anyone who has actually read t
Jo Walton
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want one Machiavelli collection this is definitely the one.

Ever since the first Ex Urbe post on Machiavelli, in July 2012, I have been reading something by him. First I read the Florentine Histories. Then I read his letters. Then I re-read the Prince and the Discourses. Then I read this, which has parts of all of the above, plus a short story and a play and a few short bits I hadn't already read. In that time I've also read four biographies. Well, I guess the
Steven Wendell
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A walk thru the mind of a genius

An exceptional collection of works and letters by Machiavelli. I haven't enjoyed something so intelligently written since I read works by Cicero. 'The Prince' probably his most famous work was good, but I particularly enjoyed his 'Discourses' and 'Florentine Histories'. The letters to friends and colleagues were an interesting look into his lighter side of character which I also enjoyed. I cannot over state what an amazingly analytical and perceptive mind he had.
Jim Robles
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Machiavelli is just amazingly timely on many current issues. Things have changed, but we have not. The fifteenth book I have finished this year. 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. My reading is that Machiavelli would say that the greatest mistake was The Obama Administration's decision to pull out fr
William Schram
Machiavelli wrote several works but is most famous for the political treatise he named The Prince. I can't read Italian. Therefore, I have no preconceived notions of how this book should sound in a translation. I read The Prince before, but that was quite some time ago. The rest of these works are new to me.

Machiavelli lived during a time of political upheaval, and his works reflect that. He looked back to the glory days of Rome.
Jul 19, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: elibrary
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I do so love political subterfuge, but more importantly I love the blatant honesty of his writing, or maybe in some places a certain lack thereof. 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. I think very possible that the advice given here was in itself "Machiavellian" in nature and that while there r ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Essential Writings of Machiavelli provides first time readers with an excellent bang for their buck. The introduction by Albert Russell Ascoli is thoughtful and analytical. Ascoli has a solid prose style that is pleasant to read. He doesn't have to try hard because he's a decent writer, so that helps. The Prince is included in its entirety, as well as excerpts from Discourses and The Art of War. My only qualm is that The Art of War is not included in its entirety, as Machiavelli deemed it hi ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Machiavelli is usually thought to have been cynical and cold, and the word "Machiavellian" is generally used to express the cunning or deceitful nature of someone/something. True, Machiavelli was cynical, especially towards the end of his life. Mostly it had to do with losing his position as a politician and diplomat with the return of the Medici. And yet, there is so much more to Machiavelli. The Essential Writings of Machiavelli offers a well-rounded collection of Machiavelli's work and person ...more
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
His psychological observations 300 something years before Freud are eerie. His military theory/political writings are educating but I skimmed his essays on contemporary political affairs - so boring they make you wanna kill yourself.

His literary works are entertaining and easy to read, 'Rules for an Elegant Social Circle' is surprisingly light & funny. Well, surprisingly, after you waded through his essays on contemporary political matters.

Those people sticking 'Machiavellian' labels left and r
Stephanie Augustin
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Machiavelli captures Florentine, Italian and by extension, modern world politics carefully. Mass murders and all-out war aside, his support of a republic as opposed to a principality and reasons given make The Prince and Discourses (especially) a must-read for any corporate or government leader.

It would help if we the populace could read it too, but that would complicate tactics a wee bit more :)
Ivan Soto
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and came to love Machiavelli. A fair reading of Machiavelli's work should reject the negative connotations behind the adjective Machiavellian. That adjective in its contemporary form is unfair to Machiavelli and reveals callow ethics. ...more
Alisha G
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't know what it says about me that I like The Prince so much. ...more
John Lombard
Dec 22, 2012 marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book goes over the base of what Machiavelli did in his life. It has selections from in my opinion his most famous book The Prince, as well as The Discourses.
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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component, most widely known for his treatises on realist political theory (The Prince) on the one hand and republicanism (Discourses on Livy) on the other.

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