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The Art of War (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
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The Art of War (Dunda Books Classic)

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Overview

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

“A clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.” So wrote Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago.

Sun Tzu’s incisive blueprint for battlefield strategy is as relevant to today’s combatants in business, politics, and everyday life as it once was to the warlords of ancient China. The Art of War is one of the most useful books ever written on leading with wisdom, an essential tool for modern corporate warriors battling to gain the advantage in the boardroom, and for anyone struggling to gain the upper hand in confrontations and competitions.

Here Lionel Giles’s famed 1910 translation, laced with commentary from illustrious Chinese experts, is brought up to date with relevant quotations from Western writers and thinkers. This new edition offers Sun Tzu’s timeless classic, both with and without annotation, making it more accessible to aspiring leaders and military strategists than ever before.

Dallas Galvin, a writer and journalist specializing in international affairs and the arts, has reported on military affairs in Latin America and Asia and produced documentaries for the NATO Alliance.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593080167
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 18,666
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Dallas Galvin, a writer and journalist specializing in international affairs and the arts, has reported on military affairs in Latin America and Asia and produced documentaries for the NATO Alliance.

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Read an Excerpt

From Dallas Galvin's Introduction to The Art of War

War is a howling, baying jackal. Or is it the animating storm? Suicidal madness or the purifying fire? An imperialist travesty? Or the glorious explosion of a virile nation made manifest upon the planet? In all recorded history, this debate is recent, as is the idea of peace to describe an active state happier than a mere interregnum between fisticuffs. Astounding as it may seem, war has consistently won the debate. In fact, it never had serious competition-not until August 24, 1898, anyway, when Czar Nicholas II of Russia called for an international conference specifically to discuss "the most effectual means" to "a real and durable peace." That was the first time nations would gather without a war at their backs to discuss how war might be prevented systematically. Nicholas was successful. His first Peace Conference was held in 1899. It was followed by a second, in 1907. These meetings gave rise to a process in which the world gained a common code of international laws.

It was a moment when peace and the trials of war were under the microscope of the civilized world. Off in a very quiet corner of this stage, there also appeared two scholars: one, a ghost, Sun Wu-this is Sun Tzu's actual name; Sun is the family name, and Tzu an honorific-a member of a Chinese clan of experts on arms and fighting, who had lived some 2,400 years earlier; the other, a librarian and student of the Chinese classics, Lionel Giles, who published his translation of The Art of War in 1910. He, too, was a son of eminence-his father was the great sinologist Herbert Giles-and he transported Sun Tzu's urgent injunctions on the nature of war across vast reaches of time and culture; the task was extraordinary, the impetus behind it almost saintly. The influence of the work of these two men colors our lives even as this text is written. But it did not come without effort, and even today, with a century of English-language scholarship on Asian literature, religion, and societies behind us, there is still much to puzzle the general reader.

World War I and its carnage would soon burst upon the world, leaving an estimated 25 million dead, twice the tally for all the wars of nineteenth-century Europe. Nicholas and his entire class would disappear amid the terrors of revolution in Russia, China, and Mexico, to name but the grandest uprisings. World War II would follow with no fewer than 60 million dead, and on its heels a whirl of wars for independence, civil wars, and the surrogate wars of Vietnam, Korea, Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East-all in all, a century-long testament to the failure of humanity's best intentions. It would be an odd soul who did not find himself feeling as Abraham Lincoln did in his Second Inaugural Address, on March 4, 1865, as the American Civil War was ending: "Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray-that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away."

Yet it takes little experience to understand the futility of belligerence alone, as Sun Tzu wrote: "[H]e who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory" (chap. IV, paragraph 15). On the world front or the level of the individual, the issue is not force, not arms-it is strategy. In his study of Mao Tse-tung, modern warfare's most ardent student of Sun Tzu, Robert Payne notes: "Sun Wu's ideas on war are exceedingly adaptable, . . . nearly all of them demonstrating how the commander of a small force can overcome a powerful enemy, given suitable conditions of his own making. These apothegms have a peculiarly Chinese flavor, hardheaded, deeply philosophical, often showing a disturbing knowledge of the human soul under stress" (Robert Payne, Mao Tse-tung; see "For Further Reading"). But how did Sun Tzu know what he knew? Where did he get his information? Can we trust it?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 621 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(246)

4 Star

(139)

3 Star

(108)

2 Star

(46)

1 Star

(82)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 629 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2011

    Get it free

    This book and many other classics are free from "Project Gutenburg" on various ebook formats.

    25 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    Review of Sun Tzu

    This concise and compact version of Sun Tzu is printed entirely in a "bullet format" which makes it very readable and enhances the understanding of ancient principles of war that are applicable in everyday life. Mr. Giles has published two versions of Sun Tzu's writings into this single book. The first section is a purist version with no interjections and an additional bonus version that incorporates translations and viewpoints of ancient Chinese masters of war.

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Very poorly formatted

    The Art of War is an excellent book-when it's in a readable format. This is NOT the format to choose.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Interesting

    The first time that I ever heard of Sun Tzu was on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and to be honest I thought Sun Tzu was a fictional character. Turns out that its not, and the Art of War is a very real work. Its a very interesting read, and this book is used by the military, and even in the business world.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2011

    like the text, hate the formatting

    Very interesting historical text that can be extrapolated to fit many modern contemporary situations, however, I found it hard to read this particular version because the formatting was so poor. The footnotes made the text hard to read and often it was hard to tell where the footnote began and the text resumed.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Have

    on every bookshelf. Brilliant read.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    I love this book!!!

    This an excellent book that I have found myself applying its strategies, tactical dispositions, or whatever you want to call them in both my professional and personal lives. I think everyone should have a copy of this book in their briefcase and/or book bag.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    On the whole, not a bad copy........

    Preserves and present the original text nicely, but could do without the definitions that interupt the flow of the text.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    Timeless Advice, Enjoyable Read

    The Art of War is a military classic, written around 400 BC. However, because the maxims contained in the book are so succinct and universal, this is still a useful book for understanding and waging war today. The central themes are to attack where the enemy is weak, deceive the enemy into attacking you on your terms (not his), and the use of espionage to confuse the enemy while gathering information for your own use.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    The art or war

    I knew that the book wuld be realy good but I wasn't expecting it to be this good

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Demigod person

    I think it is very useful. If the trojans had it they just might have won the war.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Good

    Just confusing but i am also 13

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    Its just complicated

    I feel like it is imposible to read but yet ver interesting. Its complicated

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Written 2500 years ago, but still relevant today!

    I was expecting a difficult read, but this was not the case. The annotations are very helpful and interesting, particularly in putting things into historical perspective. Very relevant to the actions in Afganhistan and Iraq today. Although this is mandatory reading for military academy graduates, you can see from current news stories how the deviation from the principles laid out in this work lead to defeat and unnessary loss of life. Perhaps it should be mandatory reading for our Commanders-in-Chief also! I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the military affairs of our country looking for an understanding of why the current wars proceed as they do. To our civilian leaders, this book says "Let the professionals fight the war! Follow their advice! Set policy, then keep your hands off!" Otherwise, don't get involved!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    Chinese is a very ancient language and is quite context-sensitive. This makes good translations to English difficult and two different translations of the same work in Chinese may come very different in English. The Denma Group has done an excellent translation of this ancient Chinese work making it quite understandable and east to read in English.

    Sun Tzu may have been one of the earliest professional soldiers to actually think about their trade and has come up with some valuable insights about conflict and war in general. Most people who are interested in this work will benefit greatly from having a copy of this translation in their library.

    A number of essays are included showing how the Denma Group has come to this particular translation and, also the huge amount of effort they have put into it. I own four different translations of the Art of War and this is the one that I carry on my e-reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    SUKY

    This book sucks it big horible ripoff

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Very useful

    He was even more of a genius with strategy than Alexander the great!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Not good

    Half the book is about if sun zo rilly exsisted

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good translation; Okay commentaries; Skip the introduction

    A lot of people read The Art of War to gain insight into business competition, inter-personal conflict, etc. Personally, I think it is most interesting as an actual treatise on warfare, statecraft, and tactics as originally intended. Comparing the tactics and outcome of various battles and wars (past and present) to Sun Tzu's advice demonstrates that he generally knew what he was talking about and many (most?) of his principles still hold true.

    This translation made a serious effort to preserve the ambiguities present in the original, giving it a much more Eastern flavor than some older translations. I can't vouch for translation accuracy since I can't read the original, but Cleary at least sounds a bit more authentic than Giles (the "classic" English translation).

    The commentary sections sometimes gave insight into how "Master Sun" was understood by others over the next few centuries, but sometimes it was just a tedious unimaginative rephrasing of the original. On your first reading of The Art of War skip the commentary; it breaks up the flow of thought. (Also, don't bother with the 60 page intro unless you really want to hear the translator pontificate about Taoism for 50 pages while saying nothing that you can't pick up from the book itself)

    If you are interested in diplomacy, espionage, military tactics, etc. this is definitely a great read. Next time you watch a war movie or play a conquer-the-world type game you'll find yourself thinking in terms of The Art of War.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    A must read

    The Art of War is in many ways the Bible of warfare and strategy. And much like the Bible, a passage can have many different meaning depending on who's reading it. I've read through this translation a couple times now and the meanings are always changing, just as the events in our lives are always changing, giving each passage new life and understanding based on those personal experinces that are forever molding and shaping our conscienceness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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