In This Review

The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know Now
The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know Now
By Carnes Lord
Yale University Press, 2003, 304 pp

In this Machiavelli-inspired reflection on the future of leadership and statecraft in Western democracy, Lord worries that the growth of bureaucracy, the weakening of political parties, the rise of egalitarianism, and the expanding power of unaccountable institutions have endangered modern leadership. Although such developments make "prudent and effective" leadership more difficult, Lord nonetheless argues that a chief executive -- embracing a moral vision -- can chart the nation's course. Ronald Reagan is the critical example: lacking a political mandate and facing resistance, Reagan still accomplished a great deal. Lord's primary concern here is effective statecraft, and the book undertakes an elaborate and, alas, disjointed discussion, informed by various political philosophers, of knowledge, judgment, prudence, and enlightenment in the conduct of foreign affairs. Lord's advice to leaders is to acquire more knowledge about their political environment, national elites, and tools of government -- a sensible but rather simplistic message.