As a diplomat in turbulent fifteenth-century Florence, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) knew how quickly political fortunes could rise and fall. "The Prince", his tough-minded, pragmatic handbook on how power really works, made his name notorious and has remained controversial ever since. How can a leader be strong and decisive, yet still inspire loyalty in his followers. When is it necessary to break the rules. Is it better to be feared than loved. Examining regimes and their rulers the world over and throughout history, from Roman Emperors to renaissance Popes, from Hannibal to Cesare di Borgia, Machievalli answers all these questions in a work of realpolitik that still has shrewd political lessons for today. Tim Parks' acclaimed contemporary translation renders Machiavelli's no-nonsense original as alarming and enlightening as when it was first written. His introduction discusses Machiavelli's life and reputation, and explores the historical background to the work.