Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What to Fear
We always turn to Machiavelli at crisis points in history – he is the philosopher for dark times. But what do we really know about this man? Is there more to his work than that perennial term for political evil, Machiavellianism?
In this concise, elegant book, Patrick Boucheron undoes many assumptions about this most complex of figures. By honing in on Machiavelli’s role in the political life of his own time, Boucheron shows how his thought remains essential to understanding not only how authoritarianism works, but also how it can be fought.
Praise for Machiavelli
‘An elegant introduction to this disturbing, incisive, many-sided thinker — and a reminder of why we must read him right now’ – Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne
‘Wise, witty, razor-sharp’ – Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began
‘Energetic… playfully conspiratorial. Boucheron invites us to think through how Machiavelli became synonymous with unscrupulous despotism when the real man suffered for his republican allegiances’ – New York Times
‘To reframe our understanding of Machiavelli, Mr. Boucheron asks, Who was he writing for?… If The Prince was meant to help ordinary people understand what their leaders were up to, then it is not a handbook for the power-crazed but a means of stopping them’ – Wall Street Journal
‘[Boucheron] makes a case for Machiavelli as a misunderstood and villainized figure with political insights that can be applied to modern times’ – New York Times Book Review