"The political ideas of two of the greatest writers of the Renaissance - Niccolo Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini - meet head to head in The Sweetness of Power. Machiavelli wrote his Discourses in exile from Florence after the fall of the republican government he had served and to whose principles of order and rule by law he remained committed. Guicciardini, who flourished under the Medici rule, thoughtfully challenged Machiavelli's concept of government in his Considerations." "Both Machiavelli and Guicciardini looked to the past to understand the present. In his Discourses on the First Decade of Livy, Machiavelli examined Roman history in order to identify its underlying political principles. Guicciardini, who would go on from a career in politics to write his monumental History of Italy, tended to look at the motives of the people who shaped history. Reflecting on ancient Rome, both thinkers refined their conceptions of government with an eye to the political turmoil of their own Florence." "Based on the definitive Italian editions and including extensive explanatory notes, The Sweetness of Power re-creates a fascinating conflict that helped to shape the history of western political thought."--BOOK JACKET.