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This sentence could have been written by Niccolò Machiavelli. It was spoken by Donald Trump in March 2016 when Trump was still only a candidate for the US presidency, and these words now appear as the epigraph to Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House.

[IS] a more off-putting introduction to our subject imagin­able? If we are tempted to assign words spoken by Don­ald Trump to Machiavelli, it’s not just because many western leaders have, and for a long time, bolstered their sense of their own power by affecting a cynical and crafty tone in the belief that it represents the last word in Machiavellian thought. It’s because we literally don’t know what to think of Machiavelli. Should we admire him or not, is he with us or against us, and is he still our con­temporary or is what he says ancient history?

Patrick Boucheron - THE GUARDIAN


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