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The Art of War (History and Warfare) Paperback – February 11, 1994


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Product Details

  • Series: History and Warfare
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Copyright 1994 edition (February 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081331951X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813319513
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This new translation of the ancient Chinese military treatise includes chapters of historical analysis touching on its relevance to today's corporate environment.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Robert L. O’Connell, author of Arms and Men: A History of Warm Weapons, and Aggression
“A tour de force. Sawyer puts this most famous of the classic Chinese military writings into context and shows that Sun-tzu was not just a solitary genius, but the product of a remarkably rich martial culture.”

Robin D.S. Yates, Burlington Northern Professor of Asian Studies, Dartmouth College
“I am convinced that this translation…will prove to be the definitive edition for many years to come.”
Arther Ferrill, author of The Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great
“Fills a serious gap for anyone interested in the history of ancient warfare…a fascinating book.”

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Customer Reviews

Very easy read of this great classic with a great translation job.
Bruce Altimar
Classic Special Warfare "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and translated by Ralph Sawyer is by far the best edition of this classic tome on special warfare.
T.A.L. Dozer
So for 10 pages of actual text from the book, you would have read 20 pages or more in notes.
Kay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By J. Straub on April 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are two critical things to consider when deciding to purchase a book such as the Art of War: the first being the content / author of the book and the second being the translator. This book deserves 5 stars for both. Sun Tzu's Art of War is the de facto standard on military strategy, and Sawyers translation and reference material take the work to new heights. Sawyer has a strong grasp of the material -- and discusses (through the introduction and footnotes) the times and military methods that brought about this brilliant work. The book has a number of minor typographical errors (such as lines of text that appear as the last line of one page, and the first line of the next) but overall these errors are minor annoyances at worst.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are two basic types of warfare: attrition and relational-maneuver. This ancient text is the ultimate text on the latter. The US Army has mostly used attrition warfare. That means you throw more soldiers and weapons at the enemy than the enemy can handle. General Grant and WW II are cases in point. On the other hand the US Marine Corps is well-known for it use of relational-maneuver warfare such as Inchon in the Korean War. In relational-maneuver warfare, one can have lesser forces and still heavily damage the enemy or even win. As Clauswitz called it--one attacks the enemy's center of gravity or attacks the enemy with more/better forces at isolated points (e.g. the Finns vs. the Germans in WWII). One of the beauties of this approach is that there are far less casualties. In Desert Storm, the Iraqi communications were taken out early--an attack on a center of gravity for command and control. The principles in Sun Tzu's "Art of War" are transferable to any conflict situation as a general case because they are so high level in nature. They can be applied to football, business negotiations, etc. Unlike some, Sun Tzu recognized that winning a war is not a matter of killing all the enemy; it's a matter of imposing a nation's political will upon another. From a certain perspective, he appears to be a realist, militarist, and humanist (he tries to minimize casualties) combined.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Rodney J. Szasz on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the best translation of Sun Tzu's work on the market. Sawyer is a deft scholar with the ability to approach the meaning most carefully in his text. Moreover the lenghty introduction to the text (three-quarters of the book) gives one a good description of the evolution of warfare in the the major dynasties of Classical China. Descriptions of everything from the development of the sword, chariot, and military organisation is included, all aspects of the the major military engagements described.
The text should therefore appeal to both those who wish to get a general outline of Chinese military history and the context that Sun Tzu (and other writers described in the book) defines his concepts of strategy.
This is a serious scholarship and there is numerous references to non-translated Chinese and Japanese first sources on the subject. Sawyer knows his stuff! There is also a full index with Chinese character translations of key concepts, events, people and places (since as any reader of Chinese script knows, there is no way the phonetic romanised spelling can convey adequate meaning). It is always good to have reference to the Chinese characters. .....
This is the translation for those who hope to take a whack at Chinese classical scholarship and military history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Captsal on January 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
When it comes to being prepared, you would be hard pressed to find more intelegence condensed in fewer pages or words. The Art of War is a must read for anyone who wants to be sucessful. You don't become sucessful by re-inventing the match, or the mouse trap. You become sucessful by immitating success; understanding the match, understanding the mouse trap, why something is sucessful and adapting those precepts to your endevors. Sun Tzu said it best; "the battle is won before the sword is drawn". That alone replaces my entire paragraph above and speaks volumes. Read this book, keep it, as I have as a reference source, and re-read it every few years. There are many useful examples of how more was accomplished with less. Read a sentence, a page, or a chapter and mull it over; you will be richer for the effort. The world belongs to the prepared mind. (Did I just quote the Boy Scouts?) No matter, I'm sure they quoted someone else. Good advice deserves repeating.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tyty on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not sure if every version of this book is like this, but the introduction is half the book. The author goes through and explains EVERY detail. I, having never read the book, got extremely confused as to what was going on. After skipping halfway through the book I discovered the ACTUAL book. it was hidden deep inside. For a non-seasoned reader who just wanted some strategic reading this was rather annoying. For anyone who wants a background on the book this is a great selection. I have yet to finish it but it would appear the actual translation is in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Altimar on August 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Very easy read of this great classic with a great translation job. Makes you think about strategy for the battle field and for life in general. Ultimately it is up to the reader to take whatever they can from this great classic.
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