The Tao of Deception: Unorthodox Warfare in Historic and Modern China

The Tao of Deception: Unorthodox Warfare in Historic and Modern China

by Ralph D. Sawyer

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The history of China is a history of warfare. Wars have caused dynasties to collapse, fractured the thin façade of national unity, and brought decades of alien occupation. But throughout Chinese history, its warfare has been guided by principles different from those that governed Europe. Chinese strategists followed the concept, first articulated by Sun-tzu in The Art of War, of qi (ch'i), or unorthodox, warfare. The concept of qi involves creating tactical imbalances in order to achieve victory against even vastly superior forces. Ralph D. Sawyer, translator of The Art of War and one of America's preeminent experts on Chinese military tactics, here offers a comprehensive guide to the ancient practice of unorthodox warfare. He describes, among many other tactics, how Chinese generals have used false rumors to exploit opposing generals' distrust of their subordinates; dressed thousands of women as soldiers to create the illusion of an elite attack force; and sent word of a false surrender to lure enemy troops away from a vital escape route. The Tao of Deception is the book that military tacticians and military historians will turn to as the definitive guide to a new, yet ancient, way of thinking about strategy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786722235
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 02/13/2007
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 741 KB

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

Preface     ix
A Note on Pronunciation     xiii
Dynastic Chronology     xv
Historical Experience and Formulations
Incipient Beginnings     3
Spring and Autumn Precursors     17
Sun-tzu's Definitive Formulation     55
Warring States Commanders     69
Warring States Explications     83
Han Dynasty Realizations     97
Three Kingdoms     135
Northern and Southern Dynasties Exemplars     163
Sui and T'ang Conflicts     189
Theory in the Three Kingdoms and Early T'ang     213
Sung Dynasty Theoretical Developments     253
The Ming and Beyond     297
Modern Theories and Implications
Traditional Wisdom Revitalized     323
Modern Embodiments and Implications     375
Notes     403
Selected Bibliographies     451
Selected Index     477
Also by Ralph D. Sawyer     487

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The Tao of Deception: Unorthodox Warfare in Historic and Modern China 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
mcandre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The tactics are fascinating. Unfortunately, this book spends most of its time elaborating on the history of warfare scholarship, which is boring as hell.