Off the shelf
The contemporary success of the ancient Chinese classics on military strategy has inspired another reincarnation in the form of The Complete Art of War, which combines Sun Tzu's Art of War with Sun Pin's Military Methods (Westview $250).
The works, translated by Ralph Sawyer, offer manoeuvres and insights into human nature which can be adapted for the business battlefield of today.
Those more interested in the military hardware of a modern fighting force can find out what makes the US Air Force tick in Fighter Wing, another in the Tom Clancy Military Library series (HarperCollins $170). Weapon systems, the technical capability of planes and pilots, and plans for action are all given detailed inspection.
Academic Ninian Smart has spent the past 25 years looking into belief systems around the world. The result is Dimensions of the Sacred (HarperCollins $340), a work which tackles the major faiths, indigenous religions and secular ideologies such as Marxism and reveals the similarities between them.
The Virago Book of Women Travellers, edited by Mary Morris with Larry O'Connor ($153), is a collection of tales spanning three centuries in which women explore the world and their feelings about it. While women have been limited in their travels - due to social convention and even clothing - this diverse selection shows many have broken down the barriers and adventured abroad. Among those represented here are Mary Kingsley, Isabella Bird, Beryl Markham and Box-Car Bertha.
Out in paperback is Amy Tan's latest work The Hundred Secret Senses (Flamingo $72). This is the story of Kwan who comes from China to live with Olivia and her family in the United States. She introduces Olivia to the ghost stories and mythical Chinese world.
The Sportswriter established Richard Ford as a novelist to watch. Now in Independence Day (Harvill $84) his protagonist Frank Bascombe is back on the scene, no longer selling prose but property and trying to arrange a day out with his son on July 4.
Two best-sellers out in paperback are Leon Uris' Redemption (HarperCollins $84) and Dick Francis' Come to Grief (Pan $65).
The first, a sequel to Trinity, is a family saga set in Ireland at the turn of the century; the second is a Sid Halley investigation into a series of nasty attacks on horses.