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Review: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Morim Kang

Read full review at: http://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.gr/2015/05/review-prince-by-nicc...

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Prince by Machiavelli is a classic non-fiction book, a political discourse about how a prince should rule, what traits he should possess and how to eliminate his enemies. It's only natural that when I saw this edition I couldn't wait to find out how a book without an actual story would turn into a comic. The result proved to be quite interesting.

First of all, I have to admit that I hadn't read The Prince before. I was aware though, about its theme and Machiavelli's ideas and suggestions. I wasn't also interested in reading a book on political science, at least for the time being. If I did, I think I would prefer to read The Art of War, which is more about war and less about ruling. But, eventually I'm very glad that I read Machiavelli's work, I found it enlightening.

To say that Machiavelli's opinions are cruel would be an understatement. Phrases like Of course, no animal is easier to manipulate than a human being desperate to protect his own interests and If necessary, you must crush a conquered people, so they won't even dream of exacting revenge are just mere examples as to what the author suggests that a prince should follow in order to establish his authority. It's essential, in order to maintain the position in power, to use every available means. But he condemns those who rise with unnecessary violence and wickedness, giving the example of Agathocles the Sicilian, stating that the subjects of such obtained principality will not follow the prince.

This edition wasn't a pure graphic novel, as I was expecting. It consists of The Prince, the actual text, and every chapter is followed by some pages with comics, which illustrate mostly the examples given by Machiavelli in each chapter. In this way, I had a very thorough history lesson, learning everything about the Medici family, France's and Aragon's claims on various Italian cities at the time. The illustrations helped me understand better the examples, but sometimes I felt that it was unnecessary and I was anxious to read more of the text. The art style seemed a little odd to me. Each figure was recognisable, which was a very nice thing, but in general it wasn't what I would prefer.

I enjoyed this edition of The Prince more than I expected. Machiavelli's ideas, although they were fierce, they were very intriguing. I would call this more an educational read than anything else and I would recommend it to those who don't mind something more challenging, like a discourse on politics.

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