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The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Ralph Sawyer

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General Introduction and Historical Background
MILITARY THOUGHT, the complex product of both violent war and intellectual analysis, suffered from disparagement and disrepute during almost all the past two millennia in Imperial China. Ignoring the original teachings of Confucius, self-styled Confucians eschewed—whether sincerely or hypocritically—the profession of arms and all aspects of military involvement from the Han dynasty on, growing more vociferous in their condemnation with the passing of centuries.1 However, regardless of these people’s civilized and cultured self-perception, the nation could not be without armies or generals, particularly in the face of constant “barbarian” threats and ongoing conflicts with volatile nomadic peoples. ...

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