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Samurai by John Man

Ing samurai still inspires us today In John Man's new book we discover the truth behind the legendFrom his birth in the shadow of the great volcano Sakurajima to his glorious death by ritual suicide and disembowelment Saigo Takamori was the ultimate Samurai leader His fall brought about the end of hundreds of years of Samurai tradition. Interesting and a fast read about Saigo Takamori The Last Samurai who led the Satsuma Rebellion against the Meiji government of Japan in 1877 I would have liked depth in the treatment of this subject but what I liked about it was that Man followed in the footsteps of Saigo mainly on the southern island of Kyushu so I enjoyed the travelogue aspect of the story A much better retelling of the story of Saigo is to be found as a chapter in Ivan Morris The Nobility of Failure Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan

Summary Samurai by John Man

The name 'Samurai' is synonymous with the ultimate warrior With their elaborate armour fierce swordsmanship and code of honour the samurai have become iconic figures whose influence can still be felt today From Kurosawa's epic Seven Samurai to the figure of Darth Vader in Star Wars to Manga comics and video games the figure of the fight. The Last Warrior is the sub title of the book it s around 50% of the book which is solely dedicated to Saigo Takemori who was the last Samurai who was finally defeated in 1877 with the failure of the Satsuma rebellionIt reads like a novel rather than a history text in the opening chapters as the author injects his brand of humour within the narrative which is mostly sound in his attempt to be down with the kids you ll see what I mean should you pick this up The first half gives a fair bit of pre amble which relay modern day scenarios to the way of the samurai chapters are brief give some insight into what makes a samurai or components of their way of life We have a chapter on training a young mind a section on the religion Shinto an all too small chapter on the samurai sword Seppuku early origins creation history of Japan America s invasion of Japan Bushido code However every chapter jus touches on the subject matter Its not deeply detailed giving the reader jus enough insight to see the machinations of a Samurai It also covers western influence on its culture especially an American forced trade agreement which ended nearly 250yrs 1600 1850 of isolation of Japan from the outside world bar a few Dutch traders This chapter helps to set up the reasoning of the revolt how Saigo became it s leaderAbout Saigo himself there are plenty of anecdotes written accounts in the narrative the author certainly has does his homework but I must admit I would have liked some counter from the other side to balance out the tale turn it into a story as at times it reads purely like a homage to the man which for me wasn t that appealing come the endSome part entertaining other parts monotonous a so it s 25pts rounded upto a three as at times it s an alright account

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And in many ways marks the birth of modern Japan Saigo was a man trapped by paradox a faithful servant to the emperor and yet a leader of rebel troops; a mighty Samurai warrior and also a master of Chinese poetry His life and ultimately his death offer a window into the hundreds of years of culture and tradition that defined the samurai. I learnt a lot from this book Even after a decade in Japan there were a great deal of new discoveries John Man is an excellent writer and storyteller He tells history and adds some picturesue descriptions of Japan which blend the real with the folklore I was so happy to read about the real Saigo Sama after that Tom Cruise nonsenseI shall be reading from this author A new favourite Clear concise and punchy to read


About the Author: John Man

John Anthony Garnet Man is a British historian and travel writer His special interests are China Mongolia and the history of written communication He takes particular pleasure in combining historical narrative with personal experienceHe studied German and French at Keble College Oxford before doing two postgraduate courses a diploma in the History and Philosophy of Science at Oxford and Mon



10 thoughts on “Samurai by John Man

  1. says:

    The preface identifies that this book is three stories intertwined Primarily it is the story of Saigo Takamori known as the Last Samurai Althoug

  2. says:

    The Last Warrior is the sub title of the book it’s around 50% of the book which is solely dedicated to Saigo Takemori who was the “last Samurai” who was finally defeated in 1877 with the failure of the Satsuma rebellionIt reads

  3. says:

    An excellent biography of Saigo the true last samurai Really unsure why Hollywood chose to replace him with a Westerner in the movie

  4. says:

    I didn't read the backcover before I bought this book; I just saw the title 'SAMURAI' went my brain and thought that it would make an interesting and very cool readSo imagine my bemusement when I realised that yes this is a book about

  5. says:

    As others have indicated the title of this book is a little deceptive Though the author does give some general background on samurai and their c

  6. says:

    Interesting and a fast read about Saigo Takamori The Last Samurai who led the Satsuma Rebellion against the Meiji government of Japan in 1877 I would have liked depth in the treatment of this subject but what I liked about it was that Man followed in the footsteps of Saigo mainly on the southern island of Kyushu so I enjoyed the travelogue aspect of the story A much better retelling of the story of Saigo is t

  7. says:

    Interesting informative reasonably detailed although in truth this book really should have been retitled Saigo the Last Samurai Warrio

  8. says:

    I learnt a lot from this book Even after a decade in Japan there were a great deal of new discoveries John Man is an excellent writer and storyteller He tells history and adds some picturesue descriptions of Japan which blend the real with the folklore I was so happy to read about the real Saigo Sama after that Tom Cruise nonsenseI shall be reading from this author A new favourite Clear concise and punchy to read

  9. says:

    I'm usually a fan of History but this book was rough I expected a relatively short recap of Samurai culminating in some details about their final years of relevance Instead the author is crushing on the man considered the last relevant samuraiPros History Not much otherwise it was difficult for me to finish thisCons Ext

  10. says:

    As usual John Man does a splendid job with his subject The only problem I have is with one of the photographs used The caption says the photo is of Toshiro Mifune which it is not and that in the movie the Seven Samurai his character leads the samurai against bandits attacking a village Now if John Man had actually seen the

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