The Art of War: The Oldest Military Treatise in the World

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Skyhorse Publishing Company Incorporated, 2013 - History - 204 pages
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There is a reason why such diverse leaders as five-star generals, Fortune 500 CEO’s and Tony Soprano have consulted this classic book on the planning and conduct of military operations. Written in China more than 2000 years ago, The Art of War remains a timeless and timely guide to strategy and planning, with applications that range far beyond actual warfare. Sun Tzu’s ideas are presented in clear, lucid prose; he focuses on principles that are critical to the task of overcoming an opponent while following the tao (the right way).

Some examples: “The best battle is the battle that is won without being fought.” “By command, I mean the general’s qualities of wisdom, sincerity, humanity, courage, and strictness.” “He whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious.” Even as Sun Tzu recognizes the inevitability of military conflict and the high cost it exacts, he offers philosophical aphorisms for moral conduct. In this and countless other ways, The Art of War has lost none of its power and relevance after more than two millennia.

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About the author (2013)

Sun Tzu (c.500-320. B.C.) is the name used by the unknown Chinese authors of The Art of War and related commentaries.

Lionel Giles used the Wade-Giles Romanization method of translation, pioneered by his father, Herbert Giles. Like many Victorian-era sinologists, he was primarily interested in Chinese literature, which Victorians approached as a branch of classics. Victorian sinologists contributed greatly to problems of textual transmission of the classics. The following quote shows Giles' attitude to the problem identifying the authors of ancient works like the Lieh Tzu, the Chuang Tzu and the Tao Te Ching: The extent of the actual mischief done by this "Burning of the Books " has been greatly exaggerated. Still, the mere attempt at such a holocaust gave a fine chance to the scholars of the later Han dynasty (A.D. 25-221), who seem to have enjoyed nothing so much as forging, if not the whole, at any rate portions, of the works of ancient authors. Some one even produced a treatise under the name of Lieh Tzu, a philosopher mentioned by Chuang Tzu, not seeing that the individual in question was a creation of Chuang Tzu's brain! Continuing to produce translations of Chinese classics well into the later part of his life, he confessed to a friend that he was a "Taoist at heart, and I can well believe it, since he was fond of a quiet life, and was free of that extreme form of combative scholarship which seems to be the hall mark of most Sinologists.

Don Mann, CWO3, USN, has for thirty years been associated with the Navy SEALS either as a platoon member, assault team member, boat crew leader, or advanced training officer, and more recently as a program director preparing civilians to go to BUD/s (SEAL Training). Up until 1998 he was on active duty with SEAL Team Six. Since his retirement, he has deployed to the Middle East on numerous occasions in support of the war against terrorism. Many of the active duty SEALs on SEAL Team Six are the same guys he trained. He has suffered two broken backs, two cases of high altitude pulmonary edema, and multiple other broken bones, in training or service. He has been captured twice during operations and lived to talk about it.

Ralph Pezzullo is a "New York Times" bestselling author and award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and journalist.

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