Review of The Art of War (ca. 450 BCE)


Sunzi (writer).

Read in 2022.

Read in Lionel Giles’s 1910 English-language translation.

The basic principles of warfare from the perspective of a general officer.

The most surprising of the semi-anonymous “Master Sun”’s advice is to disobey the sovereign. Sun speaks to a professional officer, not a warlord or a toady, and he affirms that the officer must sometimes trust in their own expertise for the sake of preserving their country. The goal of peace is higher than the goal of one’s career.

References here: Anabasis (ca. 400 BCE), Interesting Times (1994).

text non-fiction