Science of War

Christopher MacDonald

For more than two thousand years, strategists in China have followed a single system of military teachings. In The Science of War, Christopher MacDonald tells how those principles and teachings first crystallized into the Sun Tzu treatise and how they guide China’s military and political leaders to this day. Supported by a masterly new translation of Sun Tzu’s classic, MacDonald analyses what the application of that ancient system of thought bodes for military strategy in the region.

“This is an important read for anyone concerned with the growing influence of China. Christopher MacDonald gives us an excellent reading of the classic and both puts it in its historical context and  considers China’s policies today in terms of its ancient strategies. — Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor for the Financial Times  

Uniquely useful…a superb reading of the classic. Sun Tzu comes to us, over more than two millennia, as a manual on how to live in a complex world where intelligent strategy is essential for survival. This valuable and comprehensive edition includes both the Chinese text and the translation, along with explanations of places where the text is in doubt, or where there are several possible translations. — Diana Lary, Professor emerita of History, University of British Columbia. Author of The Chinese People at War (2010) and China’s Civil War (2015)

MacDonald has provided his readers with a masterly new translation… preceded by a thorough analysis of the work that avoids the plodding approach of many earlier writers.— Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Author of The Improbable War: China, the United States and the Logic of Great Power Conflict (2015)  |  

A serious and valuable effort to dig new meaning out of the ancient Chinese masterpiece. The author’s argument that the Chinese Communist Party has adopted a Sun Tzu-tinted, Warring States-lensed approach to China’s foreign relations in order to maximize its national interest is both interesting and inspiring.— Dr. Zhang Zhexin, Research Fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and Deputy Editor of China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies  |  

This new translation and commentary offers an excellent resource for anyone wishing to gain insight into the 21st-century objectives of the PRC.— Dr. Tim Summers, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chatham House