The Essence of War: Leadership and Strategy from the Chinese Military Classics

Overview

From antiquity, the history of China has been marked by invading tribes, warring states, and popular uprisings. This heritage of conflict produced a body of martial literature exploring the fundamental principles of warfare and their methods of employment. Fully aware of the tragic consequences of battle, the authors of these texts emphasized that bloodshed and war should be avoided whenever possible. But, they argued, this is possible only when the principles of leadership and strategy have been mastered and the...

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The Essence Of War: Leadership And Strategy From The Chinese Military Classics

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Overview

From antiquity, the history of China has been marked by invading tribes, warring states, and popular uprisings. This heritage of conflict produced a body of martial literature exploring the fundamental principles of warfare and their methods of employment. Fully aware of the tragic consequences of battle, the authors of these texts emphasized that bloodshed and war should be avoided whenever possible. But, they argued, this is possible only when the principles of leadership and strategy have been mastered and the dynamics of conflict thoroughly analyzed. Over the centuries, these texts have been studied throughout Asia, not only by generals on the battlefield but by leaders of all kinds concerned with the management of human conflict in all its forms.The Essence of War presents eight of these classics (written from 500 B.C.E. to 700 C.E.), including Sun-tzu's Art of War and Sun Pin's Military Methods. The book introduces the core principles of Chinese military science, grouping selected passages and key quotations into five thematic sections encompassing forty-one topical chapters: Fundamentals, Tao of Warfare, Tao of Command, Tactical Essentials, and Tactical Specifics. Translator Ralph D. Sawyer provides here a concise introduction to Chinese military thought and influential materials not only of traditional import, but also for contemporary study and enduring value in both business and military circles throughout the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813390499
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/10/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 944,712
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph D. Sawyer, one of America’s leading scholars in Chinese warfare, has worked extensively with major intelligence and defense agencies. After studying at MIT and Harvard and a brief stint of university teaching, Sawyer has spent the past thirty years lecturing and doing international consulting work focused on China.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Dynastic Periods xvii
Introduction 1
Part 1 Fundamentals
1 The Nature of Warfare 75
2 The Tao of Rulership 81
3 The People 85
4 Tactical and Strategic Planning 90
5 Preparations 93
6 The History of Warfare 96
Part 2 The Tao of Warfare
7 The Tao of Warfare 103
8 Doubt and Timeliness 116
9 Military and Political Intelligence 120
10 Economics and Logistics 124
Part 3 The Tao of Command
11 Rulership 129
12 Power and Authority 134
13 Command and Control 136
14 Unity 148
15 Generals and Generalship 150
16 Military Organization, Administration, and Discipline 162
17 Evaluating People 165
18 Employing People 169
19 Motivating Warriors 170
20 Psychology of Warfare 175
21 Rewards and Punishments 181
22 Instruction and Training 188
Part 4 Tactical Essentials
23 Measure and Constraint 193
24 Component Forces 196
25 Strategic Power 202
26 The Unorthodox 206
27 Manipulating the Enemy 214
28 Deception and Deceit 219
29 Fundamental Tactical Principles 221
30 Evaluating the Enemy 225
31 Psychological Warfare 231
Part 5 Tactical Specifics
32 Attack and Defense 237
33 Defense and Fortifications 244
34 Relative Strength and Appropriate Tactics 247
35 Deployments, Formations, and Their Employment 257
36 Basic Principles of Terrain 267
37 Specific Configurations of Terrain 269
38 Tactical Principles for Specific Situations 285
39 Invasion Measures 292
40 Urban Warfare, Sieges, and Assaults 295
41 Incendiary Warfare 302
Index 305
Suggested Further Reading 309
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