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Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli's Lifelong Quest for Freedom

Erica Benner



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04 June 2018
Biography; Biography: historical, political & military; Western philosophy: Medieval & Renaissance, c 500 to c 1600; Social & political philosophy
Was Niccolo Machiavelli really the cynical schemer of legend - or was he a profound ethical thinker, who tried to save the democratic freedom of Renaissance Florence as it was threatened by ruthless dynasties? This revelatory biography shows us a man of fox-like dissimulation: a master of disguise in dangerous times.

'A gripping portrait of a brilliant political thinker, who understood the dangers of authoritarianism and looked for ways to curb them' The New Yorker

'Compelling... this unconventional biography questions whether the philosopher deserves his reputation as an advocate for tyranny' Julian Baggini, Financial Times
By:   Erica Benner
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   281g
ISBN:   9780141974859
ISBN 10:   0141974850
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   04 June 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Erica Benner lives in Berlin. She is the author of several books, including Machiavelli's Ethics and Machiavelli's Prince: A New Reading. A former fellow in Political Philosophy at Yale, she taught for many years at Oxford University and the London School of Economics.

Reviews for Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli's Lifelong Quest for Freedom

Lively, compulsively readable, fluently written and unshowily erudite--Terry Eagleton, Guardian Compelling, unconventional--Julian Baggini, Financial Times A ripping read . . . fascinating, charming, enjoyably unorthodox--Tim Smith-Laing, Telegraph A remarkable work of imaginative engagement backed by scholarly learning. . . can be read with pleasure by anyone interested in the craft of politics and the life of ideas.--Edmund Fawcett, The New York Times Engaging, clever, entertaining . . . Benner brings to life a Machiavelli who's a man of considerable political principle . . . a creative, lively and very readable book with more than a little contemporary resonance.--Catherine Fletcher, Literary Review 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.--The New Yorker A rich, vivid and endlessly surprising portrayal of the man and his times--Tracy Borman, BBC History Magazine 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 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.--Kirkus A readable and excellent book . . . In our world of new princes and divided societies, with increasing confrontations that can seem in constant danger of escalating to conflict, Be Like the Fox reads like a cautionary call from the past--General Sir Rupert Smith Fascinating, remarkable . . . Erica Benner illuminates not only the life of Machiavelli but the complex and cruel political world in which he operate--Avi Shlaim Vividly drawn . . . biography at its best--Times Higher Education Supplement Enjoyably revisionist . . . Benner deserves great praise for dragging this much-maligned man's reputation at least partly out of the mud--Andrew Lynch, Sunday Business Post A lively and engaging study told with empathy, passion and imagination . . . well-researched, forceful and thought-provoking--Historical Writers' Association

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