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A refreshing look at Machiavelli as a contemporary political thinker

Machiavelli’s Daring. Philosophy for Free People

Tinneke Beeckman

Why would anyone still read Machiavelli (1469-1527)? Doesn’t his famous ‘The end justifies the means’ and the concept of ‘Machiavellianism’ that derives from it stand for manipulation, deceit and a lust for power? So Tinneke Beeckman herself initially thought. But through Spinoza she discovered a different Machiavelli in ‘Discourses on Livy’, a brilliant political thinker of the Renaissance and a passionate lover of freedom. Machiavelli is just the thinker a world in crisis needs. And his thinking, which was above all a reaction against the prevailing systems of his day, testifies to an infectious audacity both in propounding ideas and in taking action.

An outstanding book, which cannot be praised highly enough for the clarity with which the author sets out Machiavelli’s ideas. Furthermore, she does so in constant dialogue with pressing contemporary issues.
Mappa Libri

Beeckman discusses Machiavelli’s original insights that are applicable today: politics turns on conflict; necessity and adversity bring out the best in us; political virtue is different from classic morality. Machiavelli held up a mirror to both leaders and citizens. What do power, authority and citizenship mean? When are we truly living in freedom? Five centuries on, these questions have lost none of their topicality.

By laying the emphasis in this book on the undervalued work ‘Discourses on Livy’ (...) she has scrubbed the mud off his besmirched reputation.

In a challenging book, Beeckman leads the reader to the heart of Machiavelli’s thinking and shows that his works are a rich treasure trove of wise, sharp and clearly formulated insights that can be of great importance for citizens today.

The Machiavelli Beeckman presents is a surprising and confrontational teacher.
De Standaard
An astonishing and fantastic book.
Radio 1