Not surprisingly, The Prince, the book in which he spells all this out, has been notorious ever since it was published in 1532. Some people have described it as evil or at best a handbook for gangsters; others think it the most accurate account ever written of what actually happens in poli- tics. Many politicians today read it, though only some will admit this, perhaps revealing that they are putting its principles into practice.

[A little history of philosophy - Nigel Warburton]

What does "at best" meaning in the context?



It means that according to some people, the best interpretation of the book is that it is a handbook for gangsters. This is not much better than "evil", so the sentence is saying that some people think the book is dangerous and immoral, whereas others think it's realistic and accurate.

See: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/at-best

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