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The dramatic, myth-shattering story of how Machiavelli, 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 historical 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.

Masterfully interweaving his words with those of his friends and enemies, this dramatic new book takes us on a journey into Machiavelli's world and mind. His egalitarian politics made him an enemy of the super-wealthy Medici family, and his secular outlook put him at odds with religious zealots. But he sometimes had to mask his true convictions, becoming an artist of foxlike dissimulation.

In Be Like the Fox, the most accurate and compelling portrait of Machiavelli yet, Erica Benner shows that Machiavelli's ideas -- about democratic institutions, diplomacy, and freedom -- are more important than ever.

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