“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting": Rare First English Edition of Sun Tzu's The Art of War

  • The Book of War: The Military Classic of the Far East [The Art of War].

The Book of War: The Military Classic of the Far East [The Art of War].

Item Number: 26031

London: John Murray, 1908.

First British edition and first English language translation of this fundamental treatise on military strategy. Octavo, original green cloth with stamping in gilt and red. Translated by E. F. Calthrop. From the library of  General Sir Francis Tuker. Tuker was a young officer serving in the Gurkhas. In near fine condition with some rubbing to the spine, previous owner’s signature in ink. Ex-Imperial War Museum stock, with label, stamp. First editions are rare.

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the 5th century BC. Attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, the text is composed of 13 chapters, each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare. It is commonly thought of as a definitive work on military strategy and tactics. It was placed at the head of China's Seven Military Classics upon the collection's creation in 1080 by Emperor Shenzong of Song, and has long been the most influential strategy text in East Asia. It has had an influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.