The Art of War for Lovers

Connell Cowan, Author, Gail Parent, Joint Author Pocket Books $96 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70210-6
When Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War some 2500 years ago, he could hardly have imagined the uses to which it would be put in America today. In the 1980s, it was the bible of corporate executives and investors; now psychotherapist Cowan (Husbands and Wives) and Parent (Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York) offer it as a guide for instructing women in how to win the age-old battle of the sexes and land a husband. Readers who can get past the language of war (""power,"" ""weapons,"" ""self-defense,"" ""attack,"" ""spies,"" ""battle,"" ""strategy,"" etc.) being applied to romantic relationships are rewarded with some useful commonsense wisdom (""look for patterns in your choices""; ""trust your value""; ""never count on a man changing""). Much of the sensible relationship advice here is applicable to both genders, but the authors maintain that it is the woman who must secretly ""control"" and direct the man with ""rewards,"" ""punishments"" and ""tests."" With their theories based on some questionable premises about the inherent nature of men and women, Cowan and Parent seem to attempt to head off anticipated criticism by stating that their book's ""goals are to be psychologically accurate, not politically correct."" For many readers seeking romance, however, what follows may be too reminiscent of The Rules or of Michael Douglas's manipulative, Sun Tzu-quoting character in Wall Street. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-671-00063-9
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