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No people before modern times has left so extensive a record of military institutions and exploits as the Chinese have. Until now this fascinating and abundant material has been little studied, so that Westerners knew almost nothing of the Chinese military tradition. This volume therefore makes a unique contribution and provides a fascinating insight into an important aspect of Chinese life. It illustrates the richness and subtlety of the Chinese martial tradition, including the civilian containment of the military institution and the Chinese synthesis of psychology and maneuver evident from the Sun-tzu to Mao Tse-tung. In illuminating this different culture for the Western reader it also adds substance to the new comparative approach in history.
This volume was conceived in 1969 at a conference on military history sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies’ Committee on Studies of Chinese Civilization and the East Asian Research Center of Harvard University.