With a new foreword by John Minford. Translated by Lionel Giles. 孫子兵法.Hong Kong: Tuttle Publishing, 2017. — lxvii, 188 p. — ISBN 9780804848206.This extraordinary little book is one of the oldest, shortest and most frequently translated of all Chinese classical texts. In this respect, it stands in the same category as those two other venerable scriptures, The Book of Changes (Yijing 易經), and The Way and Its Power (Daodejing 道德經). Since probably the fifth century BC, The Art of War has been one of the key texts of Chinese strategic thinking. Widely read in Japan since the eighth century, it has also since the eighteenth century held a deep fascination for the Western reader. Napoleon is reputed to have possessed a copy of the earliest (1782) French translation by the Jesuit, Père Jean-Joseph Marie Amiot (1718-1793). It has also exerted a huge inﬂuence in the modern Chinese world. Both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong are known to have studied the book carefully, and Chiang was an avid collector of Art of War editions. As for Mao, he learned many lessons from Master Sun, applying them to the dialectics of guerrilla warfare, and himself writing in December 1936: “Some people are good at knowing themselves and poor at knowing their enemy, and some are the other way around. There is a saying in the book of Sun Tzŭ, the great military scientist of ancient China, ‘Know the enemy, know yourself, and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles,’ which refers both to the stage of learning and to the stage of application, both to knowing the laws of the development of objective reality and to deciding on our own action in accordance with these laws in order to overcome the enemy facing us. We should not take this saying lightly.”
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