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

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

by Ralph D. Sawyer, Bin Sun


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813390499
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/10/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Dynastic Periodsxvii
Part 1Fundamentals
1The Nature of Warfare75
2The Tao of Rulership81
3The People85
4Tactical and Strategic Planning90
6The History of Warfare96
Part 2The Tao of Warfare
7The Tao of Warfare103
8Doubt and Timeliness116
9Military and Political Intelligence120
10Economics and Logistics124
Part 3The Tao of Command
12Power and Authority134
13Command and Control136
15Generals and Generalship150
16Military Organization, Administration, and Discipline162
17Evaluating People165
18Employing People169
19Motivating Warriors170
20Psychology of Warfare175
21Rewards and Punishments181
22Instruction and Training188
Part 4Tactical Essentials
23Measure and Constraint193
24Component Forces196
25Strategic Power202
26The Unorthodox206
27Manipulating the Enemy214
28Deception and Deceit219
29Fundamental Tactical Principles221
30Evaluating the Enemy225
31Psychological Warfare231
Part 5Tactical Specifics
32Attack and Defense237
33Defense and Fortifications244
34Relative Strength and Appropriate Tactics247
35Deployments, Formations, and Their Employment257
36Basic Principles of Terrain267
37Specific Configurations of Terrain269
38Tactical Principles for Specific Situations285
39Invasion Measures292
40Urban Warfare, Sieges, and Assaults295
41Incendiary Warfare302
Suggested Further Reading309

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