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Military Thought in Early China

ISBN: 9781438465173
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication Date: 2017-06-09
Number of pages: 233
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This study of the philosophy of war in early China examines the recurring debate, from antiquity through the Western Han period (202 BCE-8 CE), about how to achieve a proper balance between martial (wu) force and civil (wen) governance in the pursuit of a peaceful state. Rather than focusing solely on Sunzi's Art of War and other military treatises from the Warring States era (ca. 475-221 BCE), Christopher C. Rand analyzes the evolution of this debate by examining a broad corpus of early Han and pre-Han texts, including works uncovered in archeological excavations during recent decades. What emerges is a framework for understanding early China's military philosophy as an ongoing negotiation between three major alternatives: militarism, compartmentalism, and syncretism. Military Thought in Early China offers a look into China's historical experience with a perennial issue that is not only of continuing relevance to modern-day China but also pertinent to other world states seeking to sustain strong and harmonious societies.

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