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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.

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