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Be Like the Fox Audiobook

Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli in His World

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Publisher's Summary

The dramatic, myth-shattering story of how Machiavelli - arguably the most misunderstood thinker of all time - fought to change his corrupt world.

Since the publication of The Prince five centuries ago, Machiavelli has been associated with political amorality. But that characterization is unfair. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner sets the record straight: far from the ruthless "Machiavellian" henchman that people think he was, Machiavelli emerges here as a profound ethical thinker who fought to uphold high moral standards and restore the democratic freedoms of his beloved Florence.

Shaking the dust from history, Benner masterfully interweaves Machiavelli's words with those of his friends and enemies, giving us a biography with all the energy of fiction. Through dialogues and diaries, we witness dramatic episodes, including Savonarola's fiery sermons against the elite in Florence's piazza, Machiavelli's secret negotiations with Caterina Sforza at the court of Forlí, and the Florentines' frantic preparations to resist Pope Julius's plan to overthrow their Republic.

Benner relates how Machiavelli rose as an advisor in the Florentine Republic, advancing the city's interests as a diplomat and military strategist, only to become a political pariah when the Republic was defeated. His egalitarian politics made him an enemy of the Medici family, and his secular outlook put him at odds with religious zealots. But he soon learned to mask his true convictions, becoming a great artist of foxlike dissimulation. Machiavelli's masterpiece, The Prince, was in fact a critique of princely power, but the critique had to be veiled, written as it was after the Medici triumphed over the Republic.

In Be Like the Fox, the most accurate and compelling portrait of Machiavelli yet, Benner recounts the gripping story of a brilliant political thinker, showing that Machiavelli's ideas - about democratic institutions, diplomacy, and freedom - are more important than ever.

©2017 Erica Benner (P)2017 Gildan Media LLC

What the Critics Say

"Erica Benner convincingly argues [that] there was a great deal more to Machiavelli...She interweaves his own words with those of his contemporaries, as well as setting him in the context of his world. The result is a rich, vivid, and endlessly surprising portrayal of the man and his times." (Tracy Borman, BBC Book Review)

What Members Say

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  • Jan Sapper
    Hamburg
    26/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very uninspired performance. Sounds. Like. Reading."

    Awesome story and a new aspect of Machiavelli I didn't know. Anyhow the narrator destroyed it by terrible narrating. It completely feels like she's reading something she doesn't understand.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    15/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could've been better with a different narrator."

    The book was informative and enjoyable overall, but the narrator sounded like she was reading a children's book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefkent
    Gulfport, MS USA
    12/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Storytime of Discourse"

    The author does yeoman work of showing the real Niccolò Machiavelli and his life. The primary problem is that the narrating sounds like a kindergarten storytime reading for pre-schoolers. It gets grating quickly. There aren't that many good bio's of Machiavelli out there and this one gets ruined by the reader. One can tell how much quality research went into this book to re-create a republic that existed while Columbus was still meandering around the Caribbean and calling it India. Machiavelli was essentially a mid level Florentine diplomat, part-time playwright and amateur historian/philosopher. His major work, "The Discourses on Livy" is largely overlooked in favor of his more salacious "The Prince". Looking at "The Prince" as satire is novel. The book is well worth the read, if not the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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