The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham
As author James Burnham classifies them, Machiavellians are political theorists who describe politics as it actually works rather than as they want it to work. He summarizes the major points of Machiavelli, Mosca, Sorel, Michels, and Pareto, the first of which should be familiar to you and the last of which probably is. Burnham also summarizes Dante’s (yes, that Dante) political writing and activities, as an example of a non-Machiavellian.
I suggest reading the last section first, as it is Burnham’s wrap-up of the Machiavellians’ writing with application to then-current events. Because this book was primarily written in 1941, with updates through early 1943, we in 2022 can look back at some of his observations about a policy which clearly was intended mainly to prolong Roosevelt’s power, or his prediction about how some policy or event would play out. From what I know, his observations or predictions worked out pretty well.
Recommended if only as a summary of political writing that you might be interested in reading but hesitate to dive in. Pareto, in particular, is most known for The Mind and Society (aka Treatise on General Sociology). You might find yourself needing to work up the enthusiasm to tackle its 1000 pages. Burnham’s summary might spare you the need, heh, or at least will point you to sections of particular interest. Similarly, Machiavelli himself is famous for The Prince. Most people don’t realize the extent of his other writing. And Michels? Who?
Good stuff, if you’re interested in the topic.