In This Review

Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung
Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung
Foreign Languages Press, 1967, 410 pp

Just as Western armies perfected the arts of high-technology conventional warfare, they found themselves confronted by what one French paratrooper called "termite warfare" -- prolonged guerrilla or insurrectionary war relying on dispersion, guerrilla ambushes, stealth, propaganda, and subversion. For decades heavily armed leviathans, including the British, French, American, Israeli, and Soviet armies, have been nibbled to death (or near it) by shoals of predatory minnows. These essays represent one important strand of the strategic thought behind such techniques, and are rooted in China's predicament at the hands of the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as in a rich and deep strategic culture that goes back millennia. In fact, many of the ideas derive, quite clearly, from the writings of the fourth century B.C. Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu. The book is particularly worth examining, however, because of the author's shrewdness, and his influence on those of his own and succeeding generations who have engaged in guerrilla warfare.