The Art of War
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The Art of War

By (author) Tzu Sun , Translated by John Minford , Introduction by John Minford

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For more than two thousand years, Sun-tzu's "The Art of War" has provided leaders with essential advice on battlefield tactics, managing troops and terrain, and employing cunning and deception. An elemental part of Chinese culture, it has also become a touchstone for the Western struggle for survival and success, whether in battle, in business or in relationships. Now, in this crisp, accessible new translation, John Minford brings this seminal work to life for today's readers. Capturing the literary quality of "The Art of War" - its lucid, epigrammatic, almost poetic style - as well as its philosophical and strategic content, Minford presents the core text in two different formats. First, the unadorned thirteen chapters allow readers to form their own first impressions of the ancient words of wisdom ascribed to Sun-tzu. Then the same text appears with extensive running commentary from the canon of traditional Chinese commentators and others, providing context and subtext to the work. A lively, learned introduction, chronologies, suggested readings, and other valuable apparatus round this authoritative volume. Even those readers familiar with "The Art of War" will experience it anew, finding it more fascinating - and more chilling - than ever.

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  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 20mm | 240.4g
  • 03 Sep 2009
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143105752
  • 9780143105756
  • 28,063

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Author Information

Little is known about Sun Tzu (544-496 B.C.) and his life during the Warring States period after the decline of the Zhou dysnasty, but his classic, The Art of War, has been one of the central works of Chinese literature for 2500 years. John Minford (editor/translator) studied Chinese at Oxford and at the Australian National University and has taught in China, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. He edited (with Geremie Barme) Seeds of Fire: Chinese Voices of Conscience and (with Joseph S. M. Lau) Chinese Classical Literature: An Anthology of Translations. He has translated numerous works from the Chinese, including the last two volumes of the Penguin Classics edition of Cao Xueqin's eighteenth-century novel The Story of the Stone and the martial-arts fiction of the contemporary Hong Kong novelist Louis Cha.

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Review quote

"The strategic advice that [The Art of War] offers concerns much more than the conduct of war. It is an ancient book of proverbial wisdom, a book of life." (John Minford, from the Introduction)

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