Selected Works

Charts the nature and evolution of warfare in ancient China.
A tour de force on ancient Chinese ‘spycraft’
The theoretical chapters from the innovative T'ang dynasty military manual.
"The most accurate, conscise, and usable English language translation available"
The crux itself with contemporary implications.
"A remarkable text from the widdle Warring States period"
"Should be in every library"
"Should be read by anyone interested in Chinese military thought"
A categorical compilation of early Chinese martial wisdom.
"Best of all translations I have seen of Chinese military philosophy"
The martial Tao Te Ching
The most popular Chinese oracle


   Charts the nature and evolution of warfare in China.

   "The book marks a major advance in the state of our knowledge, a rich repository to be mined not only by historians of China but also world historians, scholars of comparative military history, and students of the origins of war and the state. Its impact will be substantial, far-reaching, and unsuperseded for many years to come."
Michigan War Studies Review

   The first work of the post classical period, composed amid a devastating revolution by an experienced military official who is also one of the earliest and best known of the ten important commentators to Sun-tzu's Art of War.

Sun-tzu Art of War
   The oldest, most famous and influential work in China’s lengthy martial tradition, as well as one of the founding books of Chinese civilization.

   "The most accurate, conscise, and usable English language translation available. The explanations of weapons and tactics and the historical references make seemingly obscure passages come alive." Military Review

The Essential Art of War
   The complete Art of War in a more accessible format, intended for contemporary readers who want to focus on the contents and implications.

The Tao of Deception: Unorthodox Warfare in Historic and Modern China
   Not merely deception, the unorthodox may well be termed a "lever of power."

   "An important work not only for those interested in Chinese history, but also more generally for military historians. Ralph Sawyer pulls it off again." Jeremy Black

Sun Pin Military Methods
   Lost for over two thousand years, Sun Pin's remarkable text is here reconstructed from hundreds of fragmented bamboo strips, revealing the depth of the Sun family's military heritage and strategic thought.

   "Adds in an important way to our knowledge of the place of warfare in classical Chinese civilization." John Keegan

Complete Art of War
   A single volume rendition of the incisive writings of Sun-tzu and Sun Pin, the Art of War and the Military Methods.

   "Stop what you are doing. Buy The Complete Art of War. Read it from cover to cover." Airpower Journal

   Selected by Choice as one of Outstanding Academic Books for 1996

Seven Military Classics of Ancient China
   The founding classics of Chinese military science and basis of its traditional tactical thought, seven texts still assiduously studied not only in China but throughout Asia.

   "A grand introduction into Eastern strategic thought as it originated centuries ago and the perfect compliment to Sun-tzu." Marine Corps Gazette

The Essence of War
   The essential concepts and tactical principles from early Chinese martial science, compiled in an easily accessible categorical format.

One Hundred Unorthodox Strategies: Battle and Tactics of Chinese Warfare
   A distillation of China's one hundred essential military concepts and tactical princples, illustrated by an equal number of battles.

   "This is perhaps the best of all the translations I have seen of Chinese military philosophy; the real value of the work is that it gives a clear, graphic and dramatic idea of the difference between that thought and the western way of war." Military and Naval History Journal

Tao of War
   Wang Chen's meditation on the causes and cessation of warfare, based upon his experience as a military commander but founded upon years of pondering the ancient Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching.

   "The latest offering from Ralph D. Sawyer, the distinguished translator of the Seven Military Classics and several other Chinese military treatises of the ancient and imperial periods. Wang Chen’s ostensibly Taoist work provides a fascinating glimpse of the syncretic element in medieval Chinese thought." Journal of Military History

Tao of Spycraft
   No nation employed spies, assassination, and subversive practices earlier or more extensively than China, nor developed a more thorough and coherent theory of spycraft. The Tao of Spycraft charts the theoretical developments and proliferation of actual practices, many still employed today.

   "The Sawyers have collaborated on the daunting task of scanning China’s military classics and its twenty-five dynastic histories to produce the first thorough discussion of the theory and practice of Chinese intelligence operations." Journal of Military History

Fire and Water: The Art of Incendiary and Aquatic Warfare in China
   In the struggle for conquest, Chinese tacticians early on exploited the two most frightening and uncontrollable forces in nature, fire and water. Fire and Water charts the development of theory and evolution of practice over the centuries, both to survive and subjugate.

   "A highly troubling depiction of the development and immense power of incendiary and aquatic warfare in China." General Liu Cheng-wen

Ling Ch'i Ching
   One of China's three great divination texts (with the I Ching and T'ai Hsuan Ching), it merits study not only as an oracle in itself, but also as a window into an essential but generally de-emphasized aspect of Chinese thought and culture.