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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself: Sun Tzu and The Art of War

Evening Program on Zoom

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0579
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member

Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan


The Chinese military philosopher and strategist Sun Tzu produced his masterpiece The Art of War sometime around the fifth century BC. It is widely hailed as one of the most influential works of military theory ever written, and one of the foundational tracts describing the “Eastern way of war.” Leaders from Mao Zedong to Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., have drawn inspiration from its maxims. Today the philosophy of The Art of War is taught at all levels of the U.S. military and enjoys periodic interest from businessmen and CEOs convinced that its insights into ancient warfare can help them defeat competitors in the marketplace.

Join historian Christopher Hamner as he examines some of the delights and frustrations of untangling Sun Tzu’s sometimes-opaque aphorisms and explores some of the most famous passages in his masterwork. He also addresses the contrasts between the approach exemplified in the Chinese axioms with the more familiar “Western way of war” that has dominated much of American thinking for the past three centuries.


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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.