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Samurai: The Japanese Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) Hardcover – 6 Feb 2012


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Samurai: The Japanese Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) + Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals) + Knight: The Medieval Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual (Unofficial Manuals)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (6 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500251886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500251881
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Doolan on 17 Feb 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my favourite kind of history book, it's like a 1066 and All That for Samurai lovers. The ultimate manual on how to be a Samurai. First of all Are You A Real Samurai? Answer some multiple answer questions to find out.
There's also some handy hints on how to torture a confession out of a criminal if you want to keep law and order. If disaster strikes then there are things you must know if you are to commit seppuku without upsetting your invited audience.......Then there's how to lay seige to a castle and lots of other necessary and handy hints on how to be invaluable to your liege lord. Stephen Turnbull has excelled himself, this is a real laugh.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is written in a jokey style so you have to be on the same humor wavelength to really enjoy it.

Unfortunately I seem to be suffering from SOHF and I would have preferred a less humorous approach.

What concerned me is that there seems to be factual errors

"For example:there are other grappling techniques that will be of much greater use to you. The first is karate, (Kindle Locations 921-922)."

Karate comes from Okinawa and was only introduced to the Japanese mainland in the 1920's
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of things trying to explain samurai life but this was a nice refresher course. The fact that it's written as though by a samurai Lord gives it that something extra.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hi. It is my firth book that I bought in Amazon. It's awesome. The pages are great, pictures are colorful and the text is very clear.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Typical Turnbull book 9 May 2012
By Henry Wolford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There have been so many books by this author on the Samurai and all are very good, reliable sources of historical information. The material is never "stylized" to fit the Hollywood version of what happened in Samurai life. This one is a bit interesting, as it is written as if you are a new recruit and having to learn your duties and responsibilities within a Samurai clan. I am still searching for which of his books contained the lacing patterns for their armor.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
entertaining and informative read by an expert 5 May 2013
By David Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Turnbull is one of the worlds foremost westerner experts on medieval Japan so you know the book is well credentialed. I like the unofficial series books because instead of just concentrating on the kings and battles, they give insight into the soldier level troops who actually made the history: how they lived, dressed, fought and what governed their ethics (or lack of) in battle!

This book lives up to the series intent and makes an interesting read with lots of little diagrams explaining the detail. It is written in the genre that it is a handbook acutally written for you (as a young samurai) shortly after the Tokugawa unification of Japan (in mid-late 1600s). One thing I didnt realise is that when samurai fighting evovled from small-scale skirmishing as mounted archers, to denser larger foot-based battles over time, that the spear (and not the sword) become their prime weapon! With all the arrows flying around as you see in any painting of the time, I remain amazed that shields or better use of plate plate armour (instead of scales into which arrows can lodge) did not become more widespread counter-measures. In a small slip-up of quality control, the diagram showing how to don your samurai armour (about p 50) confusingly swaps the diagram sequence for the Kote (armoured sleeves) and the Do (breastplate)!

The book does a great job highlighting the strange mix of cultured but then also gruesome customs that simultaneously governed the life of the samurai. For example, remember to scent your hair with perfurme before the battle, so that if you are killed, your enemy will comment on your good taste when they view your cut-off head at the 'head-viewing ceremony' at battles-end! Through-out the book the entertaining uses of quizzes tests your knew found knowledge so that by books end some of the issues become second nature to you
Q: "my lord has ordered me to perform an act of incredible bravery from which I will NOT return alive. what should I do?" A: "Do you really not know the answer to this question?"

Enjoy this entertaining yet informative book
david in melbourne, australia
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Teach Yourself Bushido 9 Feb 2013
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book by Stephen Turnbull is another in the "Unofficial Manual" series that has included volumes on Gladiators, Knights and Roman Legionaries, and it's a marvelous compendium of information on the world of the Japanese Samurai, including both the big picture and the smallest of minutiae. From armor to ghosts to the horagai -- a conch shell trumpet -- this book will tell you perhaps more than you need to know on how to conduct yourself properly as a warrior. A great read, with some nice insights along the way.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Historical Outline with Witty and Entertaining Delivery! 8 Dec 2013
By Jerry Lusk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read some of his other material, such as "Warriors of Medieval Japan " and "Samurai: The World of the Warrior", Steve Turnbull has become a familiar "go-to" when I need to research, brush up, or just get my fix on this great culture.
While Turnbull brings much of his expertise to this compact historical account of what it would be to live like a samurai, it is his contemporary style that makes for a fun read, while remaining accurate to the time-period.
A great example of the author's technique is found in the chapter on wearing of clothing and armor (chapter 3):
"Oh, and another thing, heavy shin-guards and bearskin boots - no! They are just SO Kamakura period" (p. 53).
If this comes across as some inside joke, Stephen Turnbull will give you the inside scoop on many of the samurai terms and practices within the pages of this very useful and fun read!
For anyone who wants to get a good all-around overview of the samurai culture without needing to sift-through "typical" non-fiction reading material, this is a fun way to do so!
Whether you have extensive familiarity or just a small interest in the samurai, this book is for you!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An interesting take, for younger folk. 14 Mar 2014
By John C. Gilbert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would have loved this in my teens. Interesting info. A rehash of info in Turnbulls other books. It's a short read. I think it's suited for younger readers.
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