The definitive history of the Samurai, by acclaimed author of Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior
“One could ask for no better storyteller or analyst than John Man.” —Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: The Biography
The inspiration for the Jedi knights of Star Wars and the films of Akira Kurosawa, the legendary Japanese samurai have captured modern imaginations. Yet with these elite warriors who were bound by a code of honor called Bushido—the Way of the Warrior—the reality behind the myth proves more fascinating than any fiction. In Samurai, celebrated author John Man provides a unique and captivating look at their true history, told through the life of one man: Saigo Takamori, known to many as "the last samurai." In 1877 Takamori led a rebel army of samurai in a heroic "last stand" against the Imperial Japanese Army, who sought to end the "way of the sword" in favor of firearms and modern warfare. Man's thrilling narrative brings to life the hidden world of the samurai as never before.
About the Author
John Man is the author of Attila, Genghis Khan, The Great Wall, Gobi: Tracking the Desert, Ninja, Samurai, and other works. Educated at Oxford and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, he was awarded Mongolia’s Friendship Medal in 2007.
“With a relaxed and honest prose style [Man] slashes through the thicket of 19th-century Japanese politics with the keenness of a samurai’s tempered steel blade.”
— The Daily Express
“A well-written piece of history with an easy storyteller’s rhythm and plenty of intrigue. Readers will quickly realize that the author is well-versed in Far Eastern history, but he also accommodates new discoveries and insights. … Smooth, sophisticated history writing.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Exciting, surprising, and moving. ... A well-written saga”
“An engaging look at the final days of a military elite.”
— Shelf Awareness