Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Here is my input
on May 20, 2012
NM said it like it was, if I had to put him in context it would go something like this "this is the chess board, these are the pieces, these are the rules, and this is how it is played, if you want to win this is what you must do". NM outlined clearly within The Prince what it takes to win power, maintain power, and consolidate power.
NM's ideas were not morally correct, not only by the standards of his time, but also by the standards of our time. NM was not concerned with ethics, scruples, or morals, he was mainly concerned with the question of how a prince could "unconditionally" keep himself on the throne in-spite of internal and external factors. He gives the solution to this just as a person writes instructions for playing chess, in which it would be foolish to regret the failure to answer the question whether it is morally advisable to play chess at all.
The Prince is not by any means a instruction manual on how to run a state, although it does give some good pointers on what one must do in order to run it successfully. Rather, The Prince is more of a representation of an "Idea", after reading the book, one should get the picture of what NM was trying to explain. "The ends justifies the means" (as is written in The Prince) is pretty much summarising the whole entire book in one sentence, you don't really need to read anymore beyond that unless you want to get in depth.
Finally I am going to do NM some justice after so many others have done him injustice; the question is was NM Machiavellian? I’ve read all four of his books and I found the answer to that question in his book “Discourses on Livy”, here is what he says…. "The best remedy whoever becomes prince of either a city or a state has for holding that principality is to make everything in that state anew;.... to make the rich poor, the poor rich, as did David when he became king...., not to leave anything untouched in that province, so that there is no rank, no order, no state, no wealth there that he who holds it does not it as from you; and to take as one's model Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander, who from a small king became prince of Greece with these modes. He who writes of him says that he transferred men from province to province as herdsmen transfer their herds. these modes are very cruel, and enemies to every way of life, not only Christian but human; and any man whatever should flee them and wish to live in private rather than as a king with so much ruin to men. Nonetheless he who does not wish to take the first way of the good must enter into this evil one if he wishes to maintain himself." (Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses On Livy, University of Chicago 1996, book 1 chapter 26 page 61-62)….. NM according to this was not truly Machiavellian himself, he only encouraged Princes and Leaders to behave in this manner as he believed it was necessary for them to do so, and that his methods were never intended for ordinary individuals like us, as it never should have been.
Great read 5/5