Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Unlikely Prince: The Life And Times Of Machiavelli By Niccolo Capponi

An Unlikely Prince: The Life and Times of Machiavelli

An Unlikely Prince: The Life And Times Of Machiavelli By Niccolo Capponi

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Product Description

In this compelling new biography, historian Niccolò Capponi frees Machiavelli (1469–1527) from centuries of misinterpretation. Exploring the Renaissance city of Florence, where Machiavelli lived, Capponi reveals the man behind the legend. A complex portrait of Machiavelli emerges—at once a brilliantly skillful diplomat and a woefully inept liar; a sharp thinker and an impractical dreamer; a hardnosed powerbroker and a risk-taking gambler; a calculating propagandist and an imprudent jokester.

Capponi's intimate portrait of Machiavelli reveals his behavior as utterly un-Machiavellian, his vision of the world as limited by his very provincial outlook. In the end, Machiavelli was frustrated by his own political failures and utterly baffled by the success of his book The Prince.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #364311 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-06-29
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .1 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 360 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780306817564
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Niccolò Machiavelli is renowned for being one of the most famous writers of his time. While subsequent scribes have decried him as a cynic, a soulless proponent of tyranny, and a political genius, few have looked closely at his life in an attempt to contextualize his philosophies. Capponi wants readers to understand where Machiavelli was coming from, what his intentions were, and how he was regarded by his contemporaries. He completes this daunting task by relying on exhaustive biographical data, a deep understanding of Florentine culture and history, and a personal investment in the text: he's a direct descendant of Machiavelli. Capponi guides readers through Machiavelli's entire life, pointing out where the writer's political aspirations failed and what made The Prince a desperate bid for favor from the Medici administration. History buffs will appreciate Capponi's enthusiasm and comprehensive research, but readers looking for a new interpretation of The Prince should look elsewhere. As a biography, however, it's fantastic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly, 8/16/10
"fantastic...history buffs will appreciate Capponi's enthusiasm and comprehensive research."

 Forward This Week, 9/2/10
"Capponi, renowned historian and descendant of Niccolo Machiavelli, dispels misconceptions and establishes historical context in this biography."

 Times Literary Supplement, 10/15/10
"Detailed and engaging."

About the Author
Niccolò Capponi
is the author of the highly acclaimed Victory of the West and former fellow of the Medici Project. A direct descendant of Machiavelli, he lives in Florence, Italy.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
5The biography I have been waiting for
By B. Lindquist
What a pleasure to have this new biography of Machiavelli. Until now my favorite was Vilari's, which is more than one hundred years old. I took a month to read Capponi's only because I was deliberately savoring it and didn't want it to end. His writing is clear and entertaining. Too often when dealing with Macchiavelli authors descend into impenetrable, overly erudite prose. Capponi brings him to life as a person. Capponi is a descendant (I don't quite know how) of Machiavelli and a member of the very old and influential Florentine Capponi family. I think only a Florentine and a member of its ruling class could really understand and appreciate Machiavelli so well. I would suggest that anyone new to Machiavelli, or one trying to understand his political thought, should read this biography first so they can put his controversial writings into the proper perspective. A superb job. It made my summer.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
4A Fascinating Journey
By J. Curry
For pleasure readers of history and armchair time travelers, 16th Century Italy, and Florence in particular, are favorite haunts. Who would've thought that Niccolo Machiavelli would be such a enjoyable traveling companion? Far from a shadowy character, Machiavelli was in the middle of just about anything and everything--full of vinegar, ego, humor, political fervor, and dreams. While at his peak, his life among the great and powerful of Europe was a rollercoaster. After his fall, his struggle for place and purpose was poignant. The author researched and annotated this book as a scholar, but he unfolds the tale like your favorite dinner guest. The writing is bright, clever and insightful. His personal translations of historic documents are fresh and often fun. No historical novel will transport you quite like a good historical biography, such as this. If all you've read is Machiavelli's "The Prince" (one of his many mistakes), you've missed the best part of the story. Find it here.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
By B. B. Barker
Mr. Capponi has already dazzled us with his book on the Battle of Lepanto: Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto. This book (about his direct ancestor) builds upon his already great reputation as an historian who is eminently readable.



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