Sun Tzu b.500 BC

The author of one of the most influential books on war ever written 'The Art of War' Sun Wu (Sun Tzu's family name) lived towards the end of the period known as Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history. He was born in Le'an in the state of Qi (modern Huiming County, Shangdong Province) and gained the name Sun after service in attacking the state of Ju during which he showed great ability. His father had been a military officer and Sun Tzu was brought up in a family of military officers and quickly became an expert in strategy, a highly respected profession at that time. When civil war broke out in Qi Sun Tzu went to the state of Wu (Suzhou , Jiansu Province). Already his 13 chapters on War were well known and he was appointed a general in Wu's army. His career was to be successful attacking the Chu three times and destroying the state of Yue for his sovereign expanding the state of Wu greatly.There is no record of his birth or death but accounts of his deeds are mentioned in the Shi Ji; The biography of Wu Zixu and it is clear that he was a great general as well as a brilliant strategist having far more military experience than the other great strategist Karl von Clausewitz.The impact on strategic thinking of the Art of War cannot be underestimated despite some of its concepts such as the use of fire in attack being out of date, it's key concepts of deception, and manoeuvre warfare are still very valid today nearly 2500 years after it was written. Sun Tzu's writings are still studied at military academies all around the world today and could have helped many commanders over the ages even thought they were written before the time of Alexander the Great. The book is short and contains much common sense such as 'Know your enemy and know yourself and in a hundred battles you will not be defeated' and stressed the importance of not ignoring expenditure on repairs and maintenance of equipment more important today in modern warfare than ever before.
The Art of War, Sun Tzu. A beautifully presented edition of one of the classics of military thought. Printed on high quality paper (it shows), and bound using a traditional Chinese method which involves sewing the pages together using holes punched close to the inner edge. Has the Chinese text on one page with the English translation facing it. [read full review]
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Sun Tzu : The New Translation (The Art of War), Short but packed with wisdom which can still be applied today , a key text on tactics and strategy
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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (10 February 2001), Sun Tzu b.500 BC, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_suntzu.html

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