Marxists Internet Archive: Reference Writers: Sun-Tzu Reference Archive

Art of War

Written: around 500 B.C.E.
Translated: from the Chinese by Lionel Giles, M.A. (1910)
Transcription/Markup: Bob Sutton/Brian Baggins
Online Version: Project Gutenberg (1994); Sun-Tzu Refence Archive ( 2000

This book, along with the Tao Te Ching, represents one of the first works to use the dialectical process, creating one of the most lucid books ever written on the principles of warfare. The most basic and powerful dialectical formulation Sun-Tzu makes is in his statement "All warfare is based on deception.", thus, all peace is based on honesty and openess. The last word in the title, translated as "art", literally means "as water goes"; likely a reference to the methods explained in the Tao Te Ching.

This translation, printed in 1910 under the title: Sun Tzu on the Art of War. The Oldest Military Treatise in the World, was the first full English translation of the Chinese text. In the original publication, notes by the translator accompanied the text. In this publication the notes have been removed, and the text in full is published.

1. Laying Plans
2. Waging War
3. Attack By Stratagem
4. Tactical Dispositions
5. Energy
6. Weak Points And Strong
7. Maneuvering
8. Variation In Tactics
9. The Army On The March
10. Terrain
11. The Nine Situations
12. The Attack By Fire
13. The Use Of Spies