Sun Tzu

(c. 544 BC - c. 496 BC)

Although its current form likely dates to the Warring States period—from around 403 to 221 BC—The Art of War was attributed by the historian Sima Qian to Sun Tzu, who he claimed had been a Qi native turned Wu general around 500 BC. The book first reached Western readers through a translation by a French Jesuit in 1772. The Art of War has proved to be of enduring inspiration to modern military tacticians: Tommy Franks, commanding general of the U.S. Central Command during the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, claimed to have been inspired by the work.

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