The Art of War

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Spring and Autumn period in 5th century BC. The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”, also spelled Sunzi), is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to a distinct aspect of warfare and how that applies to military strategy and tactics. For almost 1,500 years it was the lead text in an anthology that would be formalised as the Seven Military Classics by Emperor Shenzong of Song in 1080. The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare. It has a profound influence on East Asian and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.

The book was first translated and published into French in 1772 (re-published in 1782) by the French Jesuit Jean Joseph Marie Amiot and a partial translation into English was attempted by British officer Everard Ferguson Calthrop in 1905 under the title The Book of War. The first annotated English translation was completed and published by Lionel Giles in 1910. Numerous military and political leaders such as the Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, Japanese daimyo Takeda Shingen, and American military general Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. have drawn inspiration from the book.