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An examination on the cold, hard realities of maintaining power, Machiavelli's The Prince is both a meditation on history and a philosophical guide to politics. Machiavelli examines the successes and failures of all sorts of societies, criticizing the idealized concept of a morally pure leader in favor of a more realist approach. But is it really encouraging amorality, or is it a satire against the abuse of power? Rarely has a book been interpreted in so many contradictory ways and yet remained so influential.