The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham

The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham

THIRD FISHERMAN: Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.

FIRST FISHERMAN: Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

A classic work of political theory and practise, this book makes available an account of the modern Machiavellians, a remarkable group who have been influential in Europe and practically unknown in the United States: Gaetano Mosca, Georges Sorel, Robert Michels and Vilfredo Pareto. In addition, there is a long section on Machiavelli himself.

James Burnham contends that the writings of these men hold the key both to the truth about politics and to the preservation of political liberty.

James Burnham was an American popular political theorist. Burnham was a radical activist in the 1930s and an important factional leader of the American Trotskyist movement. In later years, as his thinking developed, he left Marxism and turned to conservatism, serving as a public intellectual of the conservative movement. He also wrote regularly for the conservative publication National Review on a variety of topics.

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