This text discusses the Chinese Legalists, an ancient school of Chinese philosophy which flourished during the Period of the Hundred Contending Schools (6th-3rd century B.C.E.) The school perfected the science of government and art of statecraft to a level that would have greatly impressed Machiavelli. This period and its personalities, as well as a taste of the style and spirit of the Legalists' discourse, are made accessible to the student and general reader, placing into focus the roots of the great Chinese philosophy-as-statecraft tradition. The Legalists - most famously Li Kui, Shang Yang, Shen Buhai, Shen Dao, and Han Fei - had a great impact not only on the institutions and practices of Chinese imperial tradition but also on the Maoist totalitarianism of the People's Republic of China.
Fully accessible to students and scholars alike, this engaging book introduces the constructivist approach to understanding world affairs. In a highly readable and witty way, it shows how people and their social relations are the basis for everything around us -- International Relations included.