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The Machiavellians

Defenders of Freedom
Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Philosophy
4.5 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This classic work of political theory and practice offers an account of the modern Machiavellians, a remarkable group who have been influential in Europe and practically unknown in the United States. The book devotes a long section to Machiavelli himself as well as to such modern Machiavellians as Gaetano Mosca, Georges Sorel, Robert Michels and Vilfredo Pareto. Burnham contends that the writings of these men hold the key both to the truth about politics and to the preservation of political liberty.
©1943 James Burnham (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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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  • Walter
  • Wheaton, IL, United States
  • 10-24-11

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Serious political science

The narration could drone, but the content was excellent. Many sections worth re-listening to and bookmarking. Filled with political myth busting and strategies and structures for preserving liberty in the real world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Vry Insightful

An honest and realistic investigation of political science. Well narrated. A must read for all serious political philosophy students.

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Mediocrity

The best use of time would be to read Machiavelli. Mediocre academics only serves the academics.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful