A Brief History Of Cunning

American writer and satirist Joe Queenan traces the history of cunning, from Odysseus to Karl Rove, via Machiavelli, Richard Nixon and Margaret Thatcher.

He talks to experts, observers and practitioners of the dark arts, from Professor of Classics Edith Hall to Tim Parks, translator of Machiavelli's The Prince.

In Italy he meets a commentator who describes cunning as a pathology of intelligence, while former Conservative party treasurer Lord McAlpine sees it more as a 'little nudge here, a little nudge there'.

Other contributors include writer Kathy Lette, Italian journalist Beppe Severgnini, law professor Don Herzog, and actor Francis Urquhart, prime minister in the BBC's House of Cards.