This is a book about power – getting it, wielding it, and perpetuating it. The general wisdom concerning these processes was laid down by Machiavelli, who inaugurated modern political scholarship with his penetrating insights concerning the importance of skill in securing and then keeping political power; by Marx, who insisted that power could not be retained unless it was firmly anchored in a material base; and by Weber, who showed us that power had to be institutionalised to be perpetuated. Each of these political thinkers established principles which thereafter dominated political scholarship with little change.