The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China

In This Review

The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China

By Ralph D. Sawyer with Mei Chün
Westview Press, 1993
568 pp. $29.95

More than just a set of translations, this large work contains useful background material and bibliographic references for the seven military classics, the best known of which (in the West, at any rate) is Sun-tzu's Art of War. Sawyer, a Harvard-trained Sinologist, has worked in Asia for 20 years, and reports that these works continue to inform Asian business practices. Professional students of Asia will come to their own conclusions about the merits of this work, but those interested in national-security matters will surely find it useful and rewarding. Not only do these works have much to instruct us about Asian strategic thought, they remind readers of the importance of the cultural dimensions of strategy. No less important, the variety of views of war expressed in the classics remind the reader that Chinese thought is no more monolithic than its Western counterpart.

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