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In Praise of Flattery

In Praise of Flattery
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US$ 21.95
Where would we be without flattery? Hobbes deemed it an honorable duty and Meredith called it the “finest of the arts.” Alexander the Great applied it as imperial policy; Caesar and Cleopatra were masters of it; and Napoleon devoured it like candy. But flattery also has influential enemies. Cicero called flattery “the handmaid of vice” and Tacitus compared it to poison. In a work as erudite as it is entertaining, Willis Goth Regier looks into flattery as an element as flammable (and as taken for granted) as oxygen. Giving flattery light, attention, and care, Regier treats readers to hundreds of historical examples drawn from the highest social circles in politics, romance, and religion, from the courts of Byzantium and China to Paris, Rome, and Washington, DC. Because flattery must please, it is playful and creative, and Regier’s book makes the most of it, moving with light steps, now and then pausing to take in the view. Ambitious flatterers even seek to flatter God, a practice Regier treats with trepidation. This is a book for those who would understand the history, tactics, and pleasures of flattery, not least the thrill of danger.
University of Nebraska Press; November 2007
209 pages; ISBN 9780803213999
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