The Tao of War: A Military Interpretation of Tao Te Ching

The Tao of War: A Military Interpretation of Tao Te Ching

by Ralph D. Sawyer (Translator)




The ninth-century military commander Wang Chen was sickened by the carnage that had plagued China for many decades during the T’ang dynasty. “All within the seas were poisoned,” he wrote, “and pain and disaster were rife throughout the land.” How, he wondered, can we end conflicts before they escalate? How can we explain and understand the dynamics of conflict? For the answer he turned to a surprising source—the Tao Te Ching.

The Tao of War is Wang Chen’s own rendering of and commentary on that ancient text, insightfully amplified by translator Ralph D. Sawyer, one of the leading modern scholars of Chinese military history, in his own substantial introduction and commentaries. The Tao Te Ching had long influenced Chinese military doctrine, but Wang Chen’s interpretations produced the first reading of it as a martial text. Like Sun-tzu’s The Art of War (certainly the most famous study of strategy ever written) the Tao Te Ching provides lessons for the dealing with the struggles of contemporary life. Similarly, Wang Chen’s expanded view of it in The Tao of War will provide further keys to succeeding in all kinds of competitive situations, as the book uncovers action plans for managing conflict and promoting peace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760790953
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 12/30/2006
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ralph D. Sawyer is a Fellow of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, strategic adviser to international conglomerates, and consultant to defense agencies. He specializes in Chinese military history and contemporary intelligence issues. His translations of fundamental Chinese military writings such as Sun-tzu’s The Art of War, Sun Pin’s Military Methods, and The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China are noted for their extensive historical introductions and commentary. Sawyer’s analytic works include The Tao of Spycraft: Intelligence Theory and Practice in Traditional China, Fire and Water: The Art of Incendiary and Aquatic Warfare in China, and The Tao of Deception: A History of Unorthodox Warfare in China.

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