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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Art of War (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor) Paperback – November 13, 2002

4 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1 edition (November 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486425576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486425573
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard York on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This particular edition of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is a bare literal translation prefaced by a rather wordy introduction that pads the book up to a total of 96 pages. While the translation is not bad, the book contains no explanations or notes to enlighten the readers on some of the more obscure points, such as the modern equivalents of ancient Chinese distance measures.

The one sentence review, pronouncing this to be the best translation, was perhaps a bit generous. Among both military and history buffs, the prevailing view is that the translation by Lionel Giles, of the British Museum, is the definitive translation. Of the various available editions of the Giles translation, the Special Edition that contains two complete copies of the English text - one with and one without extensive notes and commentary - in addition to the complete text in Chinese characters - is far and away the best.

The $4.95 price for this book (or for the matchbox size miniature edition from Running Press) is a bargain only for those who are more concerned with price than with value. Choosing a better edition of "The Art of War", rather than this rather skimpy edition, will be money well spent. It is far better to own a book you can be proud of and which does a better job of informing you than this merely passable edition.
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Format: Paperback
The Art of War was originally intended for reading by ancient China's ruling military elite, and not lowly commoners such as us. It is one of the few great books people seem to be universally familiar with, and for good reason.
The struture is blindingly simple - Sun Tzu writes short chapters about different areas of battle which consist of simple dictums. Utterly straightforward, and generalisable to any form of conflict.
Surface-reading this book will take you minutes, not hours - however, time must be spent with even the barest of his principles. The purchase of this book has become alarmingly trendy over recent years, but with no noticeable effect on the global intelligence of its middle manager market. Books like this do not read themselves.
A more accurate edition would have gained 5 stars without a second thought. The fact that much better versions are available (and freesource!) holds this version back.
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Format: Paperback
Although it contains an excellent translation, the Dover Edition of Sun Tzu's Art of War should come with a warning that says: "This book only gives you the bare Giles Translation - without his extensive explanation and notes - that are essential to provide real meaning to anyone other than a Chinese scholar."

In spite of the rather wordy introduction of this edition, it doesn't do justice the Sun Tzu's great book. It is a pale reflection of the real thing.

The full Giles Translation (which is NOT what this edition is) is a first-rate piece of literature that presents the genius of Sun Tzu in a way that it can be really understood and appreciated by modern English speaking readers. You should spend a few dollars more and get the full Giles Translation - it will be money well spent.
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Format: Paperback
I first learned about this book when I was reading selections from it in another book called A Collection of Wisdom (which, by the way, I highly recommend to anybody and everybody). I found the passages so outstanding that I soon became a full-fledged Art of War fan, reading anyhting and everything on it and even frequenting the internet Sun Tzu sites.

It is really amazing how this book is still applicable today, and not just to military operations, but to so many other aspects of life. Sun Tzu teaches in a straightforward style how to command an operation of utmost efficiency and effectiveness. Everything he recommends is only concerned with the best ends to the best means.

Rather than formulate rigid guidlines, Sun Tzu teaches us to base strategy on the infinite variety of circumstances and based on the foe we are facing. He teaches us to know ourselcves and whether we are in condition to attack, to know our enemies and know if they are in the condition to be atttacked, and to know the environmentla conditions in order to deermine whether fighting is practical. He advises us to have a balanced perspective based on defense and offense, the former protecting ourselves from defeat, and the latter making victory complete. He tells us to know the oppoenets weak spots and exploit them, and to avod where he is strong. And of course, he tells us to base warfare on deception, and to use direct methods and indirect methods in combination.

To use Sun Tzu's way, you must guard yourself, put on false appearances, and wait for the enemy to give you an opponent to make a mistake or leave himself open for atack. Then you must capitalize on it. He also says we shoudl bait opponents into vulnerbale spots. And we must use spies to gather information.
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Format: Paperback
Sun Tzu's masterpiece, "The Art of War" is one of the most important books ever written. For the price, this bare-bones version is a bargain.

You should note, however, that this is more of a booklet than a book. There is little to recommend this particular edition. The details, the subtle shades of meaning and the historical context, are left unexplained. If this is to be your only copy of Sun Tzu, you are going to miss out on a lot of the important details.

A better choice is "The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Special Edition" that contains two versions of the Giles' translation in one book: both a plain vanilla version and the complete version which includes a comprehensive introduction and a detailed running commentary.
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