From antiquity, the history of China has been marked by invading tribes, warring states, and popular uprisings. This heritage of conflict produced a body of martial literature exploring the fundamental principles of warfare and their methods of employment. Fully aware of the tragic consequences of battle, the authors of these texts emphasized that bloodshed and war should be avoided whenever possible. But, they argued, this is possible only when the principles of leadership and strategy have been mastered and the dynamics of conflict thoroughly analyzed. Over the centuries, these texts have been studied throughout Asia, not only by generals on the battlefield but by leaders of all kinds concerned with the management of human conflict in all its forms.
The Art of the Warrior presents eight of these classics (written from 500 BCE to 700 CE), including Sun-tzu's Art of War and Sun Pin's Military Methods. Selections from these writings have been arranged thematically by the translator to give the reader a comprehensive introduction to the Eastern way of strategy.
"In the enormous sweep of Chinese history, war and the wisdom of war have figured prominently in the development of Chinese philosophy. The redaction of military strategic secrets from their oral tradition into written form repeatedly provoked considerable repression of these texts and on occasion brought death to those who owned such volumes. The small portion of this military lore that has survived has been tremendously influential in Asia throughout the centuries and has become increasingly influential in contemporary Western culture. Sawyer's compendium brings together wisdom in chapters titled, "The Seven Military Classics," "Military Methods," and "Six Secret Teachings." In addition, his introduction contains an important discussion that places these texts in their appropriate cultural and historical context. This important book is an introduction to some of the most profound insights into the human condition and into the nature of power."— Publishers Weekly .