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The Prince is the most controversial book about winning power - and holding on to it - ever written. Machiavelli's tough-minded, pragmatic argument that sometimes it is necessary to abandon ethics to succeed made his name notorious. Yet his book has been read by strategists, politicians and business people ever since as the ultimate guide to realpolitik.

How can a leader be strong and decisive, yet still inspire loyalty in his followers? How do you keep your enemies in check? Is it better to be feared than loved? When is it necessary to break the rules? This shrewd handbook on how power really works answers all these questions by examining regimes and their rulers around the world and throughout history, from Roman emperors to renaissance Popes, from the savagely cruel Hannibal to the utterly devious Cesare di Borgia.

Tim Parks's gripping contemporary translation delivers Machiavelli's no-nonsense original straight, making it as alarming and enlightening as when it was first written.

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