Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli's Lifelong Quest for Freedom (英語) ハードカバー – 2017/5/9
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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.
Erica Benner succeeds brilliantly in overturning centuries-old received views of a seminal but misunderstood writer and thinker. Her enthralling and moving evocation of Machiavelli's turbulent career, set in the milieu in which he lived, also reveals how much he is our contemporary.--Rosamund Bartlett, author of Tolstoy: A Russian Life
Erica Benner's compelling book testifies to the eternal return of Machiavelli's puzzle: whether he was the voice of Satan, or the author who wanted to put morality on firmer human foundations by unveiling the empty moral platitudes that politicians used to shroud their foxy and ruthless behavior. Like a riveting novel, Benner's book guides us through Machiavelli's times and shows the variety of masks he put on, suggesting that the man behind them was less likely to compromise than his words might lead us to believe.--Nadia Urbinati, author of Democracy Disfigured and professor of political science, Columbia University
Is there anything more to say about Machiavelli's Prince after more than five hundred years? Well, yes. Erica Benner beautifully embeds Machiavelli's most famous book within the Florentine politics of his time. More than any other book known to me, this one genuinely illuminates the humanity of Machiavelli.--Steven B. Smith, Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science, Yale University
Lively, unshowily erudite, compulsively readable.--Terry Eagleton
Erica Benner convincingly argues [that] there was a great deal more to Machiavelli . . . She interweaves his own words with those of his contemporaries, as well as setting him in the context of his world. The result is a rich, vivid, and endlessly surprising portrayal of the man and his times.--Tracy Borman
Timely, dramatic . . . an eye-opening, captivating portrait. Benner succeeds at what every biographer tries to do: she brings her subject to life for her readers.
Engaging, entertaining, splendidly colourful. . . . Brings to life a Machiavelli who's a man of considerable political principle. Benner does a wonderful job of bringing to life Florentine society - the world of the piazzas, the courts, the battlefields. . . . A creative, very readable book with more than a little contemporary resonance.--Catherine Fletcher
Successfully rehabilitates the image of the highly quotable and oft-maligned Machiavelli. . . . Benner places readers in Machiavelli's daily life and recreates his world.
A ripping read. . . . fascinating, charming, enjoyably unorthodox.--Tim Smith-Laing
Fascinating, remarkable. . . . Erica Benner illuminates not only the life of Machiavelli but the complex and cruel political world in which he operated.--Avi Shlaim
In this tightly composed narrative of Machiavelli's life and works, Benner argues that 'The Prince' is a work of secret subversion, using irony and beguilement to advance a staunchly republican message. . . . [A] gripping portrait of a brilliant political thinker, who understood the dangers of authoritarianism and looked for ways to curb them even though independent speech had become impossible.