Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" Book Review by bigred

Sun Tzu's "The Art of War"
A review of Sun Tzu's military treatise entitled "The Art of War".
# 116685 | 1,007 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2000 | US
Published on Oct 18, 2009 in History (Asian) , Literature (General)

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The paper deals with the questions surrounding Sun Tzu's historical existence and relates that his work, "The Art of War", remains a sophisticated work, containing Taoist conceptions of the time, while its rhetorical form reflects its foundation in the oral tradition. The paper discusses how Sun Tzu advocates the defeat of rivals without resorting to armed combat. The paper suggests that "The Art of War"'s most notable break with the military practices of the preceding centuries is the promotion of the use of deception and employment of spies. The paper posits that the fact that "The Art of War" is frequently translated and studied serves to illustrate its continuing relevance and popularity.

From the Paper:

"The Records of the Grand Historian state that Sun Tzu served the state of Wu in its battles against contending states during the late Spring and Autumn period. He has been identified by some military historians as a general in the campaigns against the state of Ch'u, beginning in 511 B.C., but his name drops from the records after the defeat of Ying, Ch'u's capital city (Sawyer, 83). The scant historical evidence in records preceding the third century B.C. have led some historians to conclude that the text bearing his name was later compiled from oral traditions (De Bary, 214). His actual existence remains a historical point of contention, not only because of the scant record in the authoritative texts of the period, but also due to the absence of anecdotes and illustrative stories about his life that are were often written about famous persons in later periods."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • De Bary, William Theodore and Irene Bloom. Sources of Chinese Tradition, vol. 1, From Earliest Times to 1600. 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
  • Hucker, Charles O. China to 1850: A Short History. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1975.
  • Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Translated by Ralph D. Sawyer. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1994.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" (2009, October 18) Retrieved May 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Sun Tzu's "The Art of War"" 18 October 2009. Web. 28 May. 2023. <>