CMHS Suggested Readings

Chinese Military Thought and Theory

Sunzi's Art of War is available in numerous English translations, and many other classical military treatises have also been translated. The largest contribution has been made by Ralph D. Sawyer, whose Seven Military Classics of Ancient China (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993) is the most comprehensive one-volume collection of early Chinese military texts. Another of Sawyer's translations, One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), provides encyclopedic coverage of the key concepts of traditional military theory. Of late Song (or possibly Yuan or Ming) date and uncertain authorship, this work contains commentary and historical examples arranged under one hundred headings, including "Spies," "The Unorthodox," and "Fighting to the Death."
Chen-Ya Tien, Chinese Military Theory: Ancient and Modern (Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic Press, 1991) attempts a comprehensive survey, though the work is marred by poor editing. An extremely important recent study of the military classics and their connection with later Chinese strategic preferences is Alastair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).

 




CMHS Suggested Readings