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A not-so-brief introduction

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  • Douglas Henderson
    Many years ago, while in high school, I read Lynn Montross s War Through the Ages which contained a reference to an ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu. It
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2001
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      Many years ago, while in high school, I read Lynn Montross's "War
      Through the Ages" which contained a reference to an ancient Chinese
      strategist, Sun Tzu. It piqued my curiousity and in college I found a
      copy of Griffith's excellent translation.

      It got to the point where a friend told me that my girlfriend of the
      moment in college remarked slightingly pointing to my copy of
      Griffith, "He treats that like the Bible!"

      After the person recounted the conversation, my reaction was "So
      what. It is." <grin>

      Recently I have been reviewing some of the literature again, since I
      am in the process of writing a book review of two recent versions of
      the text. I was suprised to find that there was very little in the
      form of discussion on the internet regarding the Sun Tzu, mostly in
      the Taoist newsgroup (The question of whether the work has Daoist
      influences is one for discussion).

      At the same time, Sun Tzu is quoted in current military publications
      and studied in military academies, taught in business schools and
      discussed in martial arts circles.

      So I decided to create a venue where discussions of Sun Tzu can take
      place on the many different levels the text operates at, as a purely
      military text, as a philosophical text on the nature of conflict, no
      matter what type of conflict, and as a text that says something about
      6-4th century bce China.

      My hope is that the group will attract serving and retired military
      personnel, business leaders, scholars and students of all relevant
      disciplines.

      When, finished, I will post my reviews of current Sun Tzu versions
      here. In addition, my dissatisfaction with some case studies in one
      work has inclined me to analyze the two Ardennes (1940 and 1944)
      offensives of WWII in terms of Sun Tzu.

      One note, while Sunzi is the current Pinyin spelling, Sun Tzu is
      still the most commonly used, and this group will use that, although I
      will tend to include both versions in my posts.

      On a personal note, I have never served in the military, but have
      studied military history, am an amateur student of early China, and I
      have practiced Aikido and Taijiquan (just not very well <grin>).

      And, since no discussion group ever benefitted from a protacted
      posting, let us begin.
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