Listing books in classic

Back to Books

Full title The Art of War [permalink]
Original title Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ
Language English
Authors Sun Tzu (author) and James Clavell (foreword)
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Categories Classic and warfare
Publication year 2005
Original publication year 1981
ISBN 0-340-27604-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Online version Link
Pages 102
Synopsis

The Art of War is a classic treatise on war (and tactics in war) and covers topics such as the real purpose of war, different types of ground, how to treat your soldiers, and the use of spies.

Images Back of The Art of War.Spine of The Art of War.Front of The Art of War.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Foreword
  • I Laying Plans
  • II Waging War
  • III Attack by Stratagem
  • IV Tactical Dispositions
  • V Energy
  • VI Weak Points and Strong
  • VII Manœuvring
  • VIII Variation of Tactics
  • IX The Army on the March
  • X Terrain
  • XI The Nine Situations
  • XII The Attack by Fire
  • XIII The Use of Spies
Full title The Epic of Gilgamesh [permalink]
Language English
Author Anonymous (author)
Categories Classic and epic
Publication year -700
Pages 128
Synopsis

Being one of the few surviving early epic poems in the world (dating to the third millennium BCE), Gilgamesh tells the story of Gilgamesh, a god-king of Uruk who the gods see as arrogant. They create Enkidu, a wild beast that eventually befriends Gilgamesh. They travel together to the cedar forest and battle Humbaba, a fiendish guardian. They successfully defeat him, but eventually Enkidu dies, and Gilgamesh becomes painfully aware of his own mortality. Not liking that, he sets out on a journey to find ever-lasting life.

Review

The paperback edition that I read is only 62 pages, so it's a very light read. The story is engaging, but not really engagingly written (doubtless because of its age and the act of translation). Nevertheless, I recommend it if only for its prominent status. (Note: There are several free online translations. I originally read it online, but I can't find the version I read, so you could Google it if you want. However, my guess is that a translation from a proper book is best.)

Full title Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions [permalink]
Language English
Author Edwin A. Abbott (author)
Categories Classic, mathematics, novel and science fiction
Publication year 1884
Online version Link
Pages 68
Synopsis

Flatland chronicles the adventure of A. Square, a being in Flatland. Flatland consists of only two dimensions, as opposed to Pointland, which consists of zero dimensions, Lineland, which consists of one dimension, and Spaceland (the one we inhabit), which consists of three dimensions. It describes at length the society in Flatland, and how they go about tasks that we Spacelanders find trivial. For instance, everyone is a Polygon. The more equal all its angles and the more sides it has, the higher its social rank. Lowest are women (or the Frailer Sex, as they are often called) who are mere Lines and have no chance of rising in rank. Then come the Triangles, which are men. Then Squares (of which the narrator, A. Square, is naturally a member), Pentagons, Hexagons, Heptagons, Octagons, etc. The more sides a Polygon has, the closer it gets to being a Circle. They're the top leaders of every aspect of Flatland's society.

Review

Flatland is a classic, and even though it's written in the 1880s in Victorian English, it's still eminently readable (and funny). You might have to read a little carefully at first to get used to the age of the language, but once you've picked it up you'll have no trouble enjoying this excellent story.

Full title Fyrsten [permalink]
Original title Il Principe
Translated title The Prince
Language Norwegian
Authors Niccolò Machiavelli (author) and Trond Berg Eriksen (translator)
Publisher Kagge Forlag
Categories Classic and warfare
Publication year 2007
Original publication year 1532
ISBN 978-82-489-0659-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Online version Link
Pages 150
Synopsis

The Prince is the book which made the term "Machiavellian" enter language as meaning someone willing to ignore morality in favor of keeping power. The book is divided into many chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of keeping a prince in power.

Review

As I'm not a prince nor a real student of history, it didn't really speak to me, but it was an interesting read if only for the historical perspective.

Back to Books