Listing books in classic
|Full title||The Art of War [permalink]|
|Original title||Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ|
|Authors||Sun Tzu (author) and James Clavell (foreword)|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton|
|Categories||Classic and warfare|
|Original publication year||1981|
|ISBN||0-340-27604-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
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.
|Full title||The Epic of Gilgamesh [permalink]|
|Categories||Classic and epic|
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.
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]|
|Author||Edwin A. Abbott (author)|
|Categories||Classic, mathematics, novel and science fiction|
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.
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|
|Authors||Niccolò Machiavelli (author) and Trond Berg Eriksen (translator)|
|Categories||Classic and warfare|
|Original publication year||1532|
|ISBN||978-82-489-0659-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]|
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.
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.