Friday, December 21, 2012
This version of the world's oldest military treatise is translated and annotated by Lionel Giles. Giles provided not only a translation but also included the different interpretations of various commentators in explaining the passages.
This version begins with an introduction of Giles' work. Sun Tzu, the commentators of his work, and The Art of War's influences are also included.
The comments from the translators may be a bit distracting but without them, some parts will probably not make sense to the modern readers. Moreover, the commentators also give their interpretations of Sun Tzu's maxims as well as cite examples of battles and historical figures.
The Art of War is divided into thirteen chapters. In the introduction of the book, there is a mention of speculations on how many chapters the original manuscript was made up of.
The following are the 13 chapters of The Art of War:
I. Laying Plans
II. Waging War
III. Attack by Stratagem
IV. Tactical Dispositions
VI. Weak Points and Strong
VIII. Variation in Tactics
IX. The Army On the March
XI. The Nine Situations
XII. The Attack By Fire
XIII. The Use of Spies
The contents of the chapter may be unclear to the reader, however, the translator and the commentators provide interpretations. Although Sun Tzu is fond of figures of speech, his statements are straightforward. Readers might also find repetitions but keep in mind that they are usually for emphasis or support a closely connected statement.
I'm giving The Art of War a 10 out of 10 rating.