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The Art of War: The New Illustrated Edition Hardcover – May 1 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Watkins Publishing; Ill Rep edition (May 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780282990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780282992
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 939 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"As a reflection of the Chinese mind, this little work is as relevant as any Confucian classic."--The Times (London)

"Shows managers how to be fearless in resolving conflicts."--Boardman Reports

"A brief tract on strategy that has been admired in China for centuries. Some of Mao Tse Tung's most eloquent thoughts are merely rehashes of Sun Tzu and his interpreters."--The Los Angeles Herald Examiner

"Samuel Griffith's original and scholarly translation of The Art of War shows how good scholarship can make an easily readable translation that is much more useful to modern readers."--The Philadelphia Inquirer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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maps --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
OVER the centuries countless Chinese critics have devoted a great deal of attention to examination of literary works ascribed to the 'classical' period, an era usually defined as extending from 551 B.C., the probable birth year of Confucius, to 249 B.C., when King Chao of Ch'in liquidated the Chou dynasty. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joe Breed on April 11 2005
Format: Paperback
It is interesting to note that all of the readers see this as a text on war, and how to beat your enemies. The first part of the book should be a leson to all of the war-mongers out there, that is If You Go To War You Have Already Lost. The consequences to your own people and soldiers and even the land must be counted for years after the battle is done. Sun-Tzu explains this well, and proceeds to explain how to wage a war causing the minimum amount of damage and suffering.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts on July 7 2004
Format: Paperback
One would intuitively think that any book on war written thousands of years ago would long-since be rendered obsolete by all the technological advances in warfare that have occured over the past few centuries. Not so, says Sun Tzu. The present text is perhaps even more relevant today than when the master put pen to scribe.
The best generals throughout history (Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Napoleon, Lee, Patton) have all either innately grasped the lessons of this book, or they have learned by reading from the master. The worst generals, on the other hand (Nicias, Crassus, Hooker, Burnside) have been oblivious to Sun Tzu's teachings - and more often than not they paid dearly for their shortcomings.
Much of THE ART OF WAR is straightforward. Some of it even falls under the category of common sense. Amazingly, even the most rudimentary instructions have been ignored by military leaders down through the ages.
If, perhaps, there is one single "golden" rule of warfare that Sun Tzu would ultimately allude to, it is this: warfare is a complicated business. Do not enter into it without thinking through what it is you wish to accomplish by going to war. Do not go into combat half-cocked, and don't rely on half-baked plans or half-wit generals.
The penalty for not following this dictum could very well be either your annihilation or the financial and materiel ruin of your society. For further elaboration on this point I will defer you to the Chinese sage himself.
Given the amount of information rendered by this book, it is a surprisingly quick read. As a bonus, we are also able to peruse the trenchant commentary of various other Chinese military persons.
This book is, quite simply, a must for the military historian - both amateur & professional. I would hope that it is standard reading for all major war colleges in my country. While the instruments of war change over the centuries, the rules of war remain constant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Jenkins on Dec 7 2003
Format: Paperback
Indeed, I am heartened to read one reviewer lambasting the general critical acceptance of "The Art of War" as "flowery". Unfortunately, most Westerners see Chinese philosophy as little more than yoga meditation and interior decoration. Of course, this is not the case.
Take, for example, Sun's "Art of War". Here is a man sick of watching ancient Chinese warlords wage war in a sloppy, haphazard fashion (more as a social tradition than anything else), wasting their populace's resources and lives. Thus, Sun writes a magnum opus discussing the proper means of waging war, from gaining the support of the people to clearly articulating goals to ensuring success of well-trained armies in short and long campaigns all the way to the minute details of using fire (even setting other people on fire). Far from the flowery rhetoric of most Western diatribes on Taoism and Buddhism and (enter your favorite Chinese term here), the Art of War is at once simple and immediate, which is why it has survived for 2500 years.
Griffith's translation of this work is masterful as well. Included are many of the commentaries of the ancient scholars (including, for you Three Kingdoms fans, copious amounts of Cao Cao), which show how Sun's text was used in various situations, both in war AND peace). Also, he includes an excellent introduction which places the work in its historical context and speaks of Mao Zedong's use of its precepts. Also are five appendices, one of which contains the other famous Art of War, that of Wu. I was particularly surprised at his none-too-flattering comments regarding the Japanese understanding of this work (truthfully, I think that too many people see the art of war in the Gordon Gecko, "Rising Sun" business sense), particularly in pointing out their blunders during WWII.
All in all, reader, you will be hard-pressed to find a better translation of this seminal work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samurai on Sept. 6 2002
Format: Paperback
For years I've heard people refer to this book as the ultimate tactical planner's guide. However, I never took the time to read it because I was turned off by images of greedy, yuppie stockbrokers refering to this book as their Bible. I didn't want to read anything recommended by corporate head-hunter types. I detested those individuals and any philosophy they espoused.
However, when the war in Afghanistan started, I became fascinated with military tactics and questioned why we have to bomb everything in sight. Is that the only way to win a war and does bombing actually end the conflict or prolong it? I picked up this book hoping to glean some Eastern wisdom from the legendary Sun Tzu. I was not disappointed.
Sun Tzu confirmed everything my instincts had been telling me about this dunderheaded Clausewitzean approach to military tactics. The US's overrealiance on ordinance and smart munitions has resulted in us becoming more and more tactically and politically inept. Our military destroys infrastracture and imposes silly sanctions that only prolong the "total war". In the end we exhaust our resources, frustrate our troops, alieanate our public, and forever ruin the indigenous people's lives. The tragic irony being we do more damage to the people we are trying to save than the "enemy" could have done himself.
Individuals like Bin Laden could have been apprehended had we taken up the offers of the Sudanese or freed up the small tactical units that warned us of this nutjob years ago. Instead we blunder forward with our highly destructive and inevitably ineffectual answer which is attrition warfare. The same thing that probably got us in this mess in the first place.
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