Jonathan Clements has done a fine job of packing a fairly complete history of the samurai into 318 pages (plus a 27-page introduction). The last 35 pages contain a surprisingly detailed list of further reading, notes on the chapters, and a fairly basic index. This may seem like rather a bulky book at first glance, until you realize that it gives you an overview of Japanese history from 645 to the present day! That's about 4 years to the page, which is pretty brisk. That's mainly because Mr Clements sticks to the role of the samurai, keeping a tight rein on any digression - so, if you are looking for a more complete history of Japan, you will naturally need to dip into the recommended further reading. What you do get includes at least three things: a rounded description of samurai culture and values, an easy-to-follow historical timeline so you know who did what and when, and last but not least a great deal of interesting story telling. There are also two maps (a big geographic one, and a smaller one showing the homes of the various clans), and a three-page set of family trees showing imperial and shogunate dynasties.