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Sun Tzu at Gettysburg: Ancient Military Wisdom in the Modern World

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Imagine if Robert E. Lee had withdrawn to higher ground at Gettysburg instead of sending Pickett uphill against the entrenched Union line. Or if Napoléon, at Waterloo, had avoided mistakes he’d never made before. The advice that would have changed these crucial battles was written down centuries before Christ was born—but unfortunately for Lee, Napoléon, and Hitler, Sun Tz ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
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If you think Bobby Lee walks on water - you're probably not going to like this book. If you're a fan of Stonewall Jackson - well you'll be happy.

The author takes Sun Tzu's Art Of War and examines several battles/wars including the 1862 spring campaigns in the Virginia theater of the American Civil War and Gettysburg in 1863.

As the author points out Sun Tzu's military maxims were based on common sense. It appears Robert Edward Lee - the saint of the South - lacked some common sense.

A Confederate
Bevin Alexander does a materful jog of applying the wisdom of Sun Tzu (The Art Of War) to significant battles/campaigns. Alexander demonstrates that the application or failure to apply common sense principles led to success or inevitable disasters in some of history's most important battles/campaigns.

The only thing that kept this from being a five star book was the lack of good maps. There were maps of each campaign, but they were frequently inadequate in helping the reader following the battle
Matt N
Enjoyed the "what if" approached the author used to provide insight to Sun Tzu principles. Most of what was reviewed has been repeated frequently by modern historians, but the comparing and contrasting the principles make the "Art of War" much easier to appreciate and cause wonder in any student of military history looking to utilize the maxims in modern society, whether in the courtroom or boardroom.
Yvonne Moore
His presentation was precise and the examples were good. My problem with the book is that he continually compared the battle situations to Sun Tzu and how the leader failed to heed the maxims.In the battles presented the military leaders of the day had not heard of Sun Tzu and thus should not be measured against his works.
Made me see many of the wars I have always taken for granted in a whole new light. It should required reading for all military might end-up saving lives.
Fascinating analysis of select moments in modern warfare from the perspective of Sun Tzu, who wrote the ancient Chinese text The Art of War in the 5th c. B.C.E. The author examines military situations from the American Revolution to the Korean War, and others in between, analyzing the decisions made by the commanders in these situations and explaining their success or failure by how closely they adhered to Sun Tzu's maxims. Thus, Robt. E. Lee is deemed to have lost the battle of Gettysburg throu ...more
Jack Alexander
Very engrossing and highly detailed examination, applying Sun Tzu tenets of war for ten battles from the modern age. Of course it is easy to see in retrospect, but some of it is shockingly bad, uncovering the major blunders from our military leaders. The most shocking to me, also the most current one discussed, was the Korean war. It hailed MacArthur's strategy of isolating the North Koreans on the Pusan peninsula as they tried to take South Korea, but the vilified him for stupidly massing towar ...more
Mark Luongo
Different approach to modern warfare from the view of ancient military philosophy. Critical of modern commanders like Lee and Eisenhower for their lack of "common sense." According to the author, based on Sun Tzu's advice, Gettysburg was a battle that should never have been fought, "attack the strategy of the enemy." "Secure intelligent commanders" is another Sun Tzu point that is charged against Lee and Eisenhower. Interesting book is so many ways.
George Ronczy
Excruciatingly pedantic and repetitive
I really enjoyed this book on military strategy. It looks at some of the most famous battles in the last 200 and looks through the lens of the Art of War by Sun Tzu. It really change my opinion of General Lee in particular and his blunder at Gettysburg. Hitler is portrayed as downright awful as a military leader.
Bevin Alexander once again demonstrates his ability to not only give factual information but also to get his point across and for people to understand the meaning.
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Bevin Alexander is the author of ten books on military history, including How Wars Are Won, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II, How America Got It Right, and his latest book How the South Could Have Won the Civil War. He was an adviser to the Rand Corporation for a recent study on future warfare and a participant in a recent war game simulation run by the Training and Doctrine Command of the U ...more
More about Bevin Alexander...
How Hitler Could Have Won World War II: The Fatal Errors That Led to Nazi Defeat How Great Generals Win How Wars Are Won: The 13 Rules of War from Ancient Greece to the War on Terror How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: the Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson

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