Our understanding of Chinese warfare has suffered from misconstrued contrasts between Chinese and Western ways in warfare. This is one of the arguments convincingly set forth in this important volume on an important subject. It also discusses the essentialising interpretations of Chinese culture focussing on the avoidance of warfare and the civil ethic of its officials. Based on original sources, and dealing with the subject from the earliest dynasty up to modernity, it uniquely combines chapters on strategy and tactics. Both scope and approach make it a must for historians of China. And, with a view to its conclusions on the place of China in the context of global military history, it also provides essential reading for historians of (comparative) warfare in general. The book's primary goal - to provide a fuller interpretation of the role of the military in Chinese history - has been achieved with ease.