©1943 James Burnham; (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Burnham is the greatest political analyst of our century and this is his best book." (National Review, 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century)
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"Fine intro to an authentic science of politics"
The "Machiavellian" writers Burnham discusses span a rather diverse spectrum of views. What they have in common is an objective, scientific approach to politics that avoids allowing wishful thinking, or ideas about what ought to be, to impede their discernment of the way things actually are.
I disagreed with Burnham's tendency to dismiss religious ideas as inherently irrationalist. Also, his attempt at clarification in response to Machiavelli's reputation ignores the fact that Machiavelli did, after all, offer some amoral advice, not just non-moral analysis. While some of Burnhams predictions proved correct only in the short run, his method contains within itself the the capacity for self-correction, which is part of the whole point of the book.
This book remains invaluable for all who seek to develop a scientific understanding of politics, regardless of their philosophical persuasion.
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