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The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) Mass Market Paperback – May 1 2003
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About the Author
Sun Tzu, also known as Sun Wu or Sunzi, was an ancient Chinese military strategist believed to be the author of the acclaimed military text, The Art of War. Details about Sun Tzu s background and life are uncertain, although he is believed to have lived c. 544-496 BCE. Through The Art of War, Sun Tzu s theories and strategies have influenced military leaders and campaigns throughout time, including the samurai of ancient and early-modern Japan, and more recently Ho Chi Minh of the Viet Cong and American generals Norman Swarzkopf, Jr. and Colin Powell during the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From Dallas Galvin's Introduction to The Art of War
War is a howling, baying jackal. Or is it the animating storm? Suicidal madness or the purifying fire? An imperialist travesty? Or the glorious explosion of a virile nation made manifest upon the planet? In all recorded history, this debate is recent, as is the idea of peace to describe an active state happier than a mere interregnum between fisticuffs. Astounding as it may seem, war has consistently won the debate. In fact, it never had serious competition-not until August 24, 1898, anyway, when Czar Nicholas II of Russia called for an international conference specifically to discuss "the most effectual means" to "a real and durable peace." That was the first time nations would gather without a war at their backs to discuss how war might be prevented systematically. Nicholas was successful. His first Peace Conference was held in 1899. It was followed by a second, in 1907. These meetings gave rise to a process in which the world gained a common code of international laws.
It was a moment when peace and the trials of war were under the microscope of the civilized world. Off in a very quiet corner of this stage, there also appeared two scholars: one, a ghost, Sun Wu-this is Sun Tzu's actual name; Sun is the family name, and Tzu an honorific-a member of a Chinese clan of experts on arms and fighting, who had lived some 2,400 years earlier; the other, a librarian and student of the Chinese classics, Lionel Giles, who published his translation of The Art of War in 1910. He, too, was a son of eminence-his father was the great sinologist Herbert Giles-and he transported Sun Tzu's urgent injunctions on the nature of war across vast reaches of time and culture; the task was extraordinary, the impetus behind it almost saintly. The influence of the work of these two men colors our lives even as this text is written. But it did not come without effort, and even today, with a century of English-language scholarship on Asian literature, religion, and societies behind us, there is still much to puzzle the general reader.
World War I and its carnage would soon burst upon the world, leaving an estimated 25 million dead, twice the tally for all the wars of nineteenth-century Europe. Nicholas and his entire class would disappear amid the terrors of revolution in Russia, China, and Mexico, to name but the grandest uprisings. World War II would follow with no fewer than 60 million dead, and on its heels a whirl of wars for independence, civil wars, and the surrogate wars of Vietnam, Korea, Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East-all in all, a century-long testament to the failure of humanity's best intentions. It would be an odd soul who did not find himself feeling as Abraham Lincoln did in his Second Inaugural Address, on March 4, 1865, as the American Civil War was ending: "Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray-that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away."
Yet it takes little experience to understand the futility of belligerence alone, as Sun Tzu wrote: "[H]e who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory" (chap. IV, paragraph 15). On the world front or the level of the individual, the issue is not force, not arms-it is strategy. In his study of Mao Tse-tung, modern warfare's most ardent student of Sun Tzu, Robert Payne notes: "Sun Wu's ideas on war are exceedingly adaptable, . . . nearly all of them demonstrating how the commander of a small force can overcome a powerful enemy, given suitable conditions of his own making. These apothegms have a peculiarly Chinese flavor, hardheaded, deeply philosophical, often showing a disturbing knowledge of the human soul under stress" (Robert Payne, Mao Tse-tung; see "For Further Reading"). But how did Sun Tzu know what he knew? Where did he get his information? Can we trust it?
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Top Customer Reviews
Written in the 6th century B.C., The Art of War remains the ultimate guide to combat strategy. Sun Tzu explains when and how to engage opponents in order to prevail in difficult situations. Instead of describing the logistics of warfare, he shows the reader how to succeed by motivating soldiers and leveraging tactical advantages. In short, he explains how to win the battle of wits. Though it was written for the battlefield, The Art of War contains valuable advice for other endeavors as well. Tzu's work has been lauded by sports coaches, business executives, and other leaders of the 21st century. This edition contains the translation of Lionel Giles, widely considered the most faithful and authoritative translation.
This ancient classic was written over 2,500 years ago by the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu, being a
a timeless masterpiece of interaction of power and politics this book teaches many good lessons to anyone who will ever have to command a group of people, in the workplace, in school, or on the battlefield.
The Art of War is an ageless book that teaches human nature and how to deal with difficult situations in life and business.
The lessons learned in this book can be allied to relationship, friendship, career and make you a more complete person in general. I I recommend this book to be read by all those who wants to succeed in anything they do, It is not just about lessons in war but can be used and applied for everyday life.
"The Art of War" is a must read.
If not read from a greedy capitalist standpoint, "The Art of War" provides an excellent source of enlightenment about war tactics of ancient China (that are in many ways applicable today). However, to use Tzu's work as a guide on how to work (and hence, live) is a terrible reason for reading "The Art of War".
The Art of War is a seminal text on military strategy, doctrine and mindset. Absolutely essential reading for any involved with martial arts, warfare, or simply seeking a new way to enlighten their daily lives. An astounding work, and a fairly painless, quick read.
However. And there's always a however.
I recently bought this version after misplacing one of my former versions of the work. Needless to say, this was a buy I don't regret, but I would have liked to have picked another version had I been given the chance to do it all again. There are a number of typos, formatting errors, and misinterpretations in this version. The page size is large for the amount of text per page, likened to an 8 1/2' x 11' piece of paper folded width-wize. Actually, that may be what this is really printed on, save for a better paper stock. The editors and printers would have done better to select a smaller book format, made it thicker, or utilized more of the page space itself. This is a short work, but placing it in a large format doesn't add to it's value - especially for a public domain piece.
In any case, this is an adequate version and printing of the text, but consider spending your money on a more developed version.
3/5, based on this actual version.
Most recent customer reviews
Book looks terrible... 9X6 or bigger? And like 30 pages? It's very ugly. No style.Published 2 months ago by Bobbie
I was hoping that it was the full version, but it seems to be an edited/shorter versionPublished 7 months ago by Daniel T
Great translation and you can carry in your purse for subway reading! Good analysis too, for readers who are not familiar with the text and historical context.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
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