This book is a five hundred year old manual for how to run a kingdom or principality. Written in 1513 but not published until 1532, "The Prince" generated controversy even before it got into print.
Unlike the many previous "how-to" manuals for new rulers, "The Prince" only judged actions by their effectiveness and did not consider morals or ethics at all.
Some of the suggestions were so brutal and amoral that many critics in the 18th century considered "The Prince" to be a satire, as they could not believe that any philosopher would seriously promote such actions.
But perhaps the real reason for the discomfort of Machiavelli's critics is that he accurately observes and reports the actions of the most effective rulers of Renaissance Italy.
Despite questions about Machiavelli's intention, there was no question about the effectiveness of his methods. Copies of "The Prince" were owned and studied by Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII of England, the founding fathers of the American revolution, the leaders of the Parliamentarians who destroyed the Monarchy in the English Civil War, the leaders of the Glorious Revolution who restored the Monarchy twenty years later, Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini and many others. In the late 20th Century it was even considered the "Mafia Bible" by mobsters John Gotti and Ray DeMeo.
So if you have recently acquired a kingdom or suddenly become the head of an organized crime family, this is the book for you. It's interesting for the rest of us too.
- CHAPTER I - HOW MANY KINDS OF PRINCIPALITIES THERE ARE, AND BY WHAT MEANS THEY ARE ACQUIRED
- CHAPTER II - CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES
- CHAPTER III - CONCERNING MIXED PRINCIPALITIES
- CHAPTER IV - WHY THE KINGDOM OF DARIUS, CONQUERED BY ALEXANDER, DID NOT REBEL AGAINST THE SUCCESSORS OF ALEXANDER AT HIS DEATH
- CHAPTER V - CONCERNING THE WAY TO GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED
- CHAPTER VI - CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED BY ONE'S OWN ARMS AND ABILITY
- CHAPTER VII - CONCERNING NEW PRINCIPALITIES WHICH ARE ACQUIRED EITHER BY THE ARMS OF OTHERS OR BY GOOD FORTUNE
- CHAPTER VIII - CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY WICKEDNESS
- CHAPTER IX - CONCERNING A CIVIL PRINCIPALITY
- CHAPTER X - CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH THE STRENGTH OF ALL PRINCIPALITIES OUGHT TO BE MEASURED
- CHAPTER XI - CONCERNING ECCLESIASTICAL PRINCIPALITIES
- CHAPTER XII - HOW MANY KINDS OF SOLDIERY THERE ARE AND CONCERNING MERCENARIES
- CHAPTER XIII - CONCERNING AUXILIARIES, MIXED SOLDIERY, AND ONE'S OWN
- CHAPTER XIV - THAT WHICH CONCERNS A PRINCE ON THE SUBJECT OF WAR
- CHAPTER XV - CONCERNING THINGS FOR WHICH MEN, AND ESPECIALLY PRINCES, ARE PRAISED OR BLAMED
- CHAPTER XVI - CONCERNING LIBERALITY AND MEANNESS
- CHAPTER XVII - CONCERNING CRUELTY AND CLEMENCY, AND WHETHER IT IS BETTER TO BE LOVED THAN FEARED
- CHAPTER XVIII - CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH
- CHAPTER XIX - THAT ONE SHOULD AVOID BEING DESPISED AND HATED
- CHAPTER XX - ARE FORTRESSES, AND MANY OTHER THINGS TO WHICH PRINCES OFTEN RESORT, ADVANTAGEOUS OR HURTFUL?
- CHAPTER XXI - HOW A PRINCE SHOULD CONDUCT HIMSELF SO AS TO GAIN RENOWN
- CHAPTER XXII - CONCERNING THE SECRETARIES OF PRINCES
- CHAPTER XXIII - HOW FLATTERERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED
- CHAPTER XXIV - WHY THE PRINCES OF ITALY HAVE LOST THEIR STATES
- CHAPTER XXV - WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT IN HUMAN AFFAIRS AND HOW TO WITHSTAND HER
- CHAPTER XXVI - AN EXHORTATION TO LIBERATE ITALY FROM THE BARBARIANS
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