In the five hundred years since he wrote The Prince, Machiavelli's name has been linked to tyranny and the doctrine that "the ends justify the means." But that is not what he stood for. In Be Like the Fox, Erica Benner takes us back to Renaissance Florence, where newly liberated citizens fought to build a free republic after the Medici princes were exiled. Machiavelli dedicated his life to this struggle for freedom. But despite his heroic efforts, the Medici soon swept back into power. Forced out of politics and prevented from speaking freely, Machiavelli had to use his skills of foxlike dissimulation to defend democracy in an era of tyrannical princes. Drawing on his letters, political writings, hard-hitting satirical dramas, and conversations with kings and popes, Be Like the Fox reveals Machiavelli as an unlikely hero for our times.