Regular price: $24.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In this compelling new biography, historian Niccol 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 hard-nosed 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.
©2010 Niccolo Capponi (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Show More Show Less
No Reviews are Available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jim on 11-19-16

Engaging and Immersive

Niccolo Capponi (or Count Niccolo Capponi to give him his full title) is a member or a patrician Florentine family who can trace their residence in that city back to the 13th Century. He has a PhD in military history and numbers Machiavelli as one of his ancerstors. These qualifications come together to make for a highly informative and oddly charming book. Unlike many current historians Capponi doesn't shy away from drawing character portraits of historical figures. He's also happy to make broad but very entertaining generalisations about Florentines as a whole. In other hands that combination might come across as smug, lazy or special pleading for an esteamed ancestor but Capponi is exceptionally learned, he seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Machiavelli's writings, his extensive correspondence with friends and the power brokers of Renaissance Italy and also of the political and military context within which Machiavellia operated.

So we get eye witness accounts of the struggle for Florence to maintain its' republican identity in the midst of a struggle between the French, the Holy Roman Empire and a gallery of psychotic/decadent/dim-witted Popes. We also get a real sense of why Machiavelli's contemporaries liked him to much with tales such as the one in which one of his powerful patrons helped him to blag a luxurious stay at a notoriously stingy power brokers' palace by sending ornately decorated envelopes on a daily basis which purported to contain top secret and potentially valuable intelligence. In fact they just contained a lot of ribald gossip: "I was taking a crap when I recieved your letter....." typifies the tone.

We also get a rich picture of Machiavelli as funny, clever, disadvantaged by humble roots despite Florence's claim to republican values and incapable telling a diplomatic lie when the bald truth was staring him in the face. Hence his rather turblent career.

This gets four stars rather than 5 because the production quality is good but not great and it took an hour or so before I was fully gripped. However, I'm very glad I stuck with it and now regard it as a real gem.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2018 Audible, Inc