Education About Asia: Online Archives

Sun-tzu: The Art of War

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BY DIANE SMITH

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE THROUGH BLOCKBUSTER LOCAL OUTLETS GREAT BOOKS SERIES

1994, 50 MINUTES/COLOR

Of all the Great Books written in East Asia since writing began, The Art of War is probably the best known title in the English-speaking world today, thanks in part to its popularity among business strategists and international consultants. The producers of this film thus had a great opportunity to use the existing fascination for the book to encourage a deeper understanding of early East Asian philosophy and history. Unfortunately, they chose to skim lightly over the history of The Art of War and instead use the book to draw out a simplistic theory of the differences in ways of thinking in “the East” and “the West.” In our opinion, this film is not suitable for use in a course on East Asia, except possibly as part of an exercise to critically examine constructions of “East” and “West.”

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