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Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World
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Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World


Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Machiavelli has been associated with political amorality. But that characterization is unfair. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner sets the record straight: far from the ruthless "Machiavellian" henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence.
Shaking the dust from history, Benner masterfully interweaves Machiavelli's words with those of his friends and enemies, giving us a biography with all the energy of fiction. Through dialogues and diaries, we witness dramatic episodes, including Savonarola's fiery sermons against the elite in Florence's piazza, Machiavelli's secret negotiations with Caterina Sforza at the court of Forli, and the Florentines' frantic preparations to resist Pope Julius's plan to over-throw their Republic.
Benner relates how Machiavelli rose as an advisor in the Florentine Republic, advancing the city's interests as a diplomat and military strategist, only to become a political pariah when the Republic was defeated. His egalitarian politics made him an enemy of the Medici family, and his secular outlook put him at odds with religious zealots. But he soon learned to mask his true convictions, becoming a great artist of foxlike dissimulation. Machiavelli's masterpiece, The Prince, was in fact a critique of princely power, but the critique had to be veiled, written as it was after the Medici triumphed over the Republic.
In Be Like the Fox, the most accurate and compelling portrait of Machiavelli yet, Benner recounts the gripping story of a brilliant political thinker, showing that Machiavelli's ideas--about democratic institutions, diplomacy, and freedom--are more important than ever.

Title:Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages
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    Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli In His World Reviews

  • Laura
    Mar 23, 2017

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week:A new interpretation on the importance of The Prince in Machiavelli's life and subsequent reputation.His name has of course become a by-word for political machinati...

  • Roman Clodia
    Mar 27, 2017

    This is very much a political biography rather than a personal one, a 'life and times' of Machiavelli rather than a psychological study of the man. Benner builds on a solid scholarly foundation of pri...

  • Marks54
    Jun 30, 2017

    This is a thoughtful and readable political biography of Machiavelli by a top political theorist with ties to Yale, Oxford, and the London School of Economics. Her intent is to provide a rich introduc...

  • LoLo
    Jul 03, 2017

    As an afficianodo of political philosophy, I've always held Niccolo Machiavelli's work in high esteem. And any careful examination of his teachings will reveal that he isn't quite the amoral mastermin...

  • Amanda
    Jul 17, 2017

    This book is perfect for history lovers who what to know more about machiavelli and his world. It explains in detail his life and the people that surrounded him and influenced his most notable work. B...

  • Ginny
    Jul 08, 2017

    Wow! This is an awesome book. A NYT book review finally paid off for me!! The writing is captivating. All in the present tense, which was obvious and distracting four or so times. But overwhelmingly, ...

  • Michael McAllister
    May 20, 2017

    First rate work.....This is a most fascinating and scholarly treatment of the life, writings and travails of a man most defamed by history. He was not understood as the humanistic and pragmatic thinke...

  • Ross Nelson
    Jul 13, 2017

    Not always the easiest read, mainly due to the welter of names (princes, politicians, and popes) that pop up during the six decades the book covers; the writer does a good job of supporting her thesis...

  • Warren
    Jul 09, 2017

    This is a fantastic read. Not only is it a magesterial biography of Machiavelli, but it is also a great history of late 15th century and early 16th century history if you don't know much about this pe...

  • Pierce
    Jun 25, 2017

    A slog at times. ...