May 28, 2015

Review: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Morim Kang

Review of the graphic novel adaptation of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Morim Kang

Title: The Prince

Author: Niccolò Machiavelli

Illustrator: Morim Kang

Publisher: NETCOMICS

Date of Publication: January 27th, 2015

Number of Pages: 366

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

Summary

Experience Niccolò Machiavelli's complete masterpiece The Prince in this unique blending of European and Korean sensibilities. Created by celebrated writer Morim Kang, this volume features over 200 pages of beautifully illustrated comics alongside Machiavelli's masterful blueprint to destroy one's enemies. After the Medici dynasty of Florence forced Niccolò Machiavelli from office, the impoverished man sought to win back their favour by writing for them the perfect instruction manual to seize and hold political power. Together, Machiavelli and Morim Kang have written a volume for you! Never before has learning to be ruthless been fun and easy!

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 mean. 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, 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.

So, my advice is...

Establish your principality!  

4 comments:

  1. Great review!
    Looking at the book cover I thought it was fiction at first! A children's book. I'm happy that it's not because I actually like this type of book, I like comics too lol. Bonus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like comics a lot! Lately, I've read some pretty interesting ones :)

      Delete
  2. Wow, this sounds like a motivational read! Very enticing review :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very interesting and definitely a different kind of graphic novel, than the rest I've read recently!

      Delete

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