The Art of War

The Art of War

Voltaire said, "Machiavelli taught Europe the art of war; it had long been practiced, without being known." For Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), war was war, and victory the supreme aim to which all other considerations must be subordinated. The Art of War is far from an anachronism—its pages outline fundamental questions that theorists of war continue to examine today, ma...

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Title:The Art of War
Author:Niccolò Machiavelli
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Edition Language:English

The Art of War Reviews

  • Mega

    His writings are considered immoral, he teaches you to be appear to be meek as a lamb but deadly as a lion. How to conquer, how to placate, the importance of perception and how it is better to be feared than loved.

  • Thomas

    Haven't read this in a while. It's still a great read. There are so many nuances and strategies that can be applied to all aspects of life, not just war, that can make your actions and decisions mutually beneficial for yourself and everyone involved. :)

  • Knarik

    - "Good orders without military help are disordered"

    - "A wise questioner makes one considermany things and recognize many others that one would never have recognized without being asked."

    - War makes thieves and peace hangs them.

    - Aquire fame as able not as good.

    - I am esteemed not so much because I understand war as because I also know how to counsel in peace.

    - DOn't keep beside you either too great lovers of peace or too great lovers of war.

    - A battle that you win cancels any other bad action o

    - "Good orders without military help are disordered"

    - "A wise questioner makes one considermany things and recognize many others that one would never have recognized without being asked."

    - War makes thieves and peace hangs them.

    - Aquire fame as able not as good.

    - I am esteemed not so much because I understand war as because I also know how to counsel in peace.

    - DOn't keep beside you either too great lovers of peace or too great lovers of war.

    - A battle that you win cancels any other bad action of yours, and viceversa.

    - One cannot make a foundation on other arms than one's own and one cannot order one's own arms otherwise than by way of militia.

    - Well ordered men, armed as well as unarmed, fear the laws.

    - One should change the heads each year from governement to government, because the continued authority over the same place and men generates union that can be converted to prejudice.

    - Men do not suffer from things to which they are accustomed.

    - It is more important for one to guard against being hit than it is important to hit the enemy.

    - Never order an army so that whoever fights ahead cannot be assisted by those posted behind.

    - No captain encamps near to the enemy, unless the former is arranged to do battle any time the enemy wants.

    - For in war, every other thing can in time be conquered, Hunger alone in time conquers you.

    - Make your enemy suspect his own men in whom he confides.

    - Want the trouble to follow when the enemy flees rather than the danger of conquering them when they defend themselves.

    - Guard those places better by which you think you can be hurt less.

    -Nature produces few hardy men; industry and training makes many.

    - New and sudden things frighten armies.

    - Take counsel from many on the things that you must do; what you later want to do, tell few.

    - "You should never believe that the enemy does not know his business, rather, if you want to deceive yourself less and bring on less danger, the more he appears weak, the more enemy appears more cautious, so much the more ought you to esteem (be wary) of him. And in this you have to use two different means, since you have to fear him with your thoughts and arrangements, but by words and other external demonstrations show him how much you disparage him; for this latter method causes your soldiers to have more hope in obtaining the victory, the former makes you more cautious and less apt to be deceived."

    - "Confidence is instilled by arms organization, fresh victories, and the knowledge of the Captain. Love of Country springs from nature. Necessities can be many, but that is the strongest, which constrains you either to win or to die."

    - If you should have present in your army someone who keeps the enemy advised of your designs, you cannot do better if you want to avail yourself of his evil intentions, than to communicate to him those things you do not want to do, and keep silent those things you want to do, and tell him you are apprehensive of the things of which you are not apprehensive, and conceal those things of which you are apprehensive: which will cause the enemy to undertake some enterprise, in the belief that he knows your designs, in which you can deceive him and defeat him.

  • Jeremy

    The only one of Machiavelli's major works to be published in his lifetime,

    is a survey of Machiavelli's opinions on the composition, employment, and leadership of an army.

    I found the introduction to this book by Neal Wood to be illuminating as it connected Machiavelli's views in this book to his other famous political works (

    and

    ). It also discussed Machiavelli's sources (most of his examples are from Greek and Roman history, as befitting a Renaissance boo

    The only one of Machiavelli's major works to be published in his lifetime,

    is a survey of Machiavelli's opinions on the composition, employment, and leadership of an army.

    I found the introduction to this book by Neal Wood to be illuminating as it connected Machiavelli's views in this book to his other famous political works (

    and

    ). It also discussed Machiavelli's sources (most of his examples are from Greek and Roman history, as befitting a Renaissance book) and some of the details that he got wrong.

    Machiavelli writes the book as a question and answer session with a military expert, which became tedious as the participants kept flattering each other. Machiavelli also takes great pains to describe the composition and formations of his ideal army, which gets very long in words. The diagrams provided in the appendix were much more understandable.

    One of his interesting assertions is that armies and nations win because of their

    , which the translator left untranslated.

    can be termed as both character and fighting spirit. Machiavelli says it is built both through right living and also experience in warfare. Because any country who conquers all its neighbors will end up losing experience in fighting, Machiavelli asserts that every people will finally lose its

    and be conquered by another, but he does think that can be postponed some.

    After beginning the book with this discussion (which the introduction's author asserts connects

    with Machiavelli's other works), he moves into more specific topics of how to attack with an army, how to march an army, how to camp an army, how to attack/defend a city, and the best characteristics of a general.

    What I found most fascinating about this book was the correlaries with

    , which I recently finished. Although the authors, and the events they describe, were literally a world apart, the principles they espouse are amazingly similar. Both touch on rewards and punishments to keep discipline, the effect of terrain, supplying an army, advance and retreat, subterfuge, and more. To me, the most striking similar advice was to leave an avenue of escape for a retreating enemy because a cornered army will fight more ferociously. A sensible piece of advice, but counterintuitive. It seems principles of successful warfare were the same in Greece, Rome, or China.

    This book adds some advice on artillery, which was not treated in the Chinese military classics that I have read, because they were written earlier.

    While some of the book was tedious, the treatment of strategy and the connections I found with other books I have read made me glad I finally got around to reading it.

  • Joshua Guest

    Nothing like Sun Tzu's timeless treatise of the same name. Disappointing.

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