The Art of War

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Mar 7, 2012 - History - 96 pages

Preserved in China for more than 2,000 years before it was brought to the West by the French, this compact little book is widely regarded as the oldest military treatise in the world. Rumored to have been used by Napoleon in his campaigns to conquer Europe, it today retains much of its original merit. American officers read it closely during World War II. The Japanese army studied the work for decades, and many 20th-century Chinese officers are said to have known the book by heart. More recently, it has also been viewed as a valuable guide to competing successfully in business.
Stressing the importance of attacking your enemy when he is unprepared and scheming to discover his plans, the author advises avoiding the strong and striking at the weak, and using spies for every kind of business. Principles of strategy, tactics, maneuvering, and communications, the treatment of soldiers, the importance of strong troops and well-trained officers, and the administration of rewards and punishments all have a modern ring to them.
A valuable guide to the conduct of war, this classic of military strategy is indispensable to military personnel, history enthusiasts, and anyone intrigued by competition and rivalry.

 

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Contents

Title Page
ONE LAYING PLANS
SIX WEAK POINTS AND STRONG
TEN CLASSIFICATION OF TERRAIN
THIRTEEN USE OF SPIES

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About the author (2012)

Sun Tzu was born around 544 B.C. Almost nothing is known about his life except that he was a Chinese military general who helped the King Ho-lu capture the city of Ying, bringing about the fall of the Ch'u state in 506 B.C.E. From this, Sun Tzu became known throughout the country as a wise and respected leader. Sun Tzu is best known today for a collection of essays called The Art of War, the oldest military treatise in the world. The text became known through translations by Father J. J. M. Amiot, a French Jesuit priest. The principles in the book are varied and include: "All warfare is based on deception," "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting," and "The art of war is governed by five constant factors (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline)". Sun Tzu is believed to have died in 496 B.C.E.

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