The Art of War: Sun Zi's Military Methods, foreword by Arthur Waldron. New York: Columbia University Press, 208 pp., with frontispiece, 2007, $19.95 (cloth)

Here is a new translation of the sixth-century-B.C. Chinese military manual that has been long seen as the definitive work on strategies and tactics. It is said to have influenced the better decisions of Napoleon and played its part in the planning of the much later Operation Desert Storm.

Mao Zedong devoted an approving citation and Gen. Douglas MacArthur claimed that some of his inspiration came from it. Even now the General Staff College of the U.S. Department of the Army mentions the work by name and advises that it be available at staff libraries.

The work has permeated other less bellicose quarters of the culture. Football coaches have used it to inform players. It is said to have inspired Brazil and Portugal (separately) in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup Games. Cricket coaches have handed out copies.