Friday, July 8, 2011

Introducing Machiavelli - A Graphic Guide by Patrick Curry & Oscar Zarate

Introducing Machiavelli - A Graphic Guide
by Patrick Curry
Illustrations by Oscar Zarate

Icon Books, 2011

Review by Ramona Wadi

"He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done sooner affects his ruin than his repservation." The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli

Far from the simplistic views insisting that Machiavelli's philosophy is one of treachery, Machiavelli - A Graphic Guide is an excellent, brief briography and reference of political thought. Considered the epitome of evil and cunning by some, and a profound thinker who discerned the process of power by others, this book gives various interpretations of Machiavelli's philosophy.

One of the most prominent thinkers of the Renaissance, Niccolo Machiavelli is considered one of the main contributors to political science. A civil servant of the political republic, Machiavelli was also a diplomat, philosopher and musician. After the execution of Savonarola, Machiavelli was elected secretary to the chancery of the Florentine republic. He witnessed periods of political upheaval and in 1513 was accused of conspiracy against the anti-Medici government. Machiavelli was arrested and subjected to rope torture - a painful procedure which involved hanging a prisoner from the wrists with the arms tied behind the back and resulted in dislocation of the shoulders.

It was upon his release that Machiavelli drew upon his observations and gave vent to writing. The Prince - his most popular work was not published until years after his death. It was this book that earned him a malignant reputation amongst his critics. However, intellectuals such as Antonio Gramsci (imprisoned by Mussolini in 1926) rethought Machiavelli's masterpiece, interpreting 'the prince' as the 'the people'. It is precisely the appeal and ease of manipulating the concepts to any political framework that sets Machiavelli apart from other theorists.

Machiavelli - A Graphic Guide is a necessity for anyone with the slightest interest in one of the most fundamental political philosophers. Drawing on Renaissance history, Machiavelli's life and work as well as the various interpretations of his thought make this book a valuable asset as well as an analytical reference.

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