Art of War - The History Channel

2009 . 2 Hour Special. HD Video

Produced by Four In Hand Entertainment Group

Available for purchase at:

Art of War uncovers the true story behind this legendary text, and illustrates in micro-detail how Sun Tzu's principles helped tip the scales in history's most important battles - from Gettysburg, to D-Day, to the Tet Offensive. It also deciphers the clues behind the strange life of Sun Tzu himself - a mysterious figure who appears out of nowhere, leads a great army to victory, then disappears into the mountains. Follow his principles and you win. Ignore them and you lose. No matter how desperate your situation or how powerful your opponent, Sun Tzu's lessons are the keys to victory on any battlefield - fail to learn them and you fight in the darkness.


David Padrusch– Director
David Baeumler–Writer, Co-Director Historian Interviews
Meredith Honig - Producer

Filmed on location in Boston & Los Angeles

For More Information Visit:

History Channel - Art of War

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by Pamela Jaye Smith

When DVDFile Editor-in-Chief Mike Restaino asked if I'd like to review Art of War, I jumped up and down with glee. Sitting on a table in my living room is a pile of books which includes Campbell's Power of Myth, Musashi's Book of Five Rings, Fitzgerald and Khayyam's Rubaiyat, and Sun Tzu's Art of War. As a student of military history my hopes were high for this, but my doubts were just as high. I was pleasantly surprised.

Kudos to the writers and directors David Baeumler and David W. Padrusch. They've done quite a good job presenting the principles of this Chinese military genius' practical principles. Art of War explores what's known about Sun Tzu and his winning ways, then compares his wisdoms to failed military exploits in three recent conflicts: the Viet Nam war, D-Day of World War II, and Gettysburg of the American Civil War. I thought I knew a lot about all these events, but I learned some interesting new information about the strategy and tactics of all these conflicts.

Without resorting to hip, slick nausea-cam tricks this show moves quickly, offers plenty of action in between the sections with the SMEs [Subject Matter Experts, the talking heads], uses CGI and live action nicely melded, and while packed with interesting information is not too complex to understand the first time through.

Many of Sun Tzu's principles appear here as he actually wrote them, on narrow strips of wood tied together with string. After highlighting these principles, the show then segues into a well delineated and clearly presented exploration of the principles in action… or not, as the case may be.

What are some of those principles, you might ask, wondering if it's worth your time to watch Art of War? How about these three main rules:

Know your enemy and know yourself. [This does not mean blathering blogs or trivial tweets. This is clear-minded analysis based on valid intelligence.]

Win without fighting. [Visit some Conflict Resolution organizations for many ways to do this. One of my favourite ways is on the first day of a film shoot, when I want to get the attention and hopefully respect of the crew in a subtle way, I wear a grenade pin on a string of black pearls, both gifts from a warrior buddy. It tends to work – the guys recognize it, we bond, and they know I'm serious about getting the job done, but that we can still have fun doing it.]

When engaging with your enemy, avoid their strengths and attack their weaknesses. [It sounds so simple, but our basic nature tends just the opposite because our attention goes straight to the scariest thing. Another of my warrior buddies whose martial arts black belt is so black it's a black hole taught me how to look for the weak physical point in another person. After a little practice, you can see it: a slight limp, a leg turned out, favouring an arm, etc. Chiropractors and massage therapists should be really good at this.]

This is a show I would use to teach military strategy.
And business strategy.
And creative project strategy.
And relationship strategy.

One slightly off-note… I did feel like I'd snuck into a development meeting with the network suits when they were stressing to the producers the need to "add suspense". A few times (around the commercial breaks, no surprise) the narration feels strained both in the text and in the emotionality of delivery, no doubt intended to keep you breathlessly tuned in. It's not that big of a deal, just noticeable.

Final Thoughts
If you're at all interested in military history and/or if you want to learn some applied wisdom for your life, your job, your relationships – get Art of War. Watch and learn.