The Art of War

Sun Tzu


The Art of War was written by a Chinese general by the name of Sun Tzu around 500 B.C. It's first fully English translation was titled Sun Tzu: The Art of War. The Oldest Military Treatise in the World. This translation was written and published by Lionel Giles, M.A. in coalition with MMS, the British museum.

Who was Sun Tzu?

Sun Tzu (Sunzi) was a Chinese military strategist philosopher who was also a great general. It is believed that Sun Tzu was born around 512 BC and he served circa 544–496 BC. He was a very successful military leader and wrote his book to allow his expertise to never die. His book still to this day serves as a guide to any military leader.

How is it different?

This book is a nonfiction exposition on military strategy, so do not expect a traditional novel or biography when you read The Art of War. This book has numbered subjects and content, somewhat resembling an outline.

For example...

"1. Laying Plans

1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected..."

Different versions of this book will sometimes have situations or examples for what would be correct under the statement(s).

When and Where?

This book was written in ancient times, around 500-600 BC, and based upon ancient China. Although it was written from the ancient Chinese military experience, it may pertain to any landscape and and time/era, such as modern age.

Was it interesting?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This may be from my personal preference of history and military, so I doubt everyone will enjoy it. While reading the book, I found to my surprise that the ancient military situations and strategies can directly relate to modern day military, for example, "obtaining and using the enemy's chariots against them" can be related to the United States army stealing German tanks in World War II and using them against the Germans, since they were much more powerful. I recommend this book to anyone with a certain love for military and history, and I am positive that I will find myself reading it many more times in the future.

By Landon Goins