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The Samurai: A Military History [Paperback]

Stephen Turnbull
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £38.99
Price: £38.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

11 April 1996
First published in 1977, The Samurai has long since become a standard work of reference. It continues to be the most authoritative work on samurai life and warfare published outside Japan. Set against the background of Japan's social and political history, the book records the rise and rise of Japan's extraordinary warrior class from earliest times to the culmination of their culture, prowess and skills as manifested in the last great battle they were ever to fight - that of Osaka Castle in 1615.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (11 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1873410387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1873410387
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book Ive read about Japan. 26 May 2000
By A Customer
This is a brilliant book giving the History of Japan in an exciting read. From the title I was expecting just a book about samurai but no,luckily the emergence of the nation & conflicting power play are documented. Detail goes into various battles in depth, but without becoming too long/technical. Incidental tales also bolster the text. Ive visited most of the places mentioned & just wish I'd read this before I went.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 23 Oct 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very pleased
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and eye opening look into the feudal Japan 19 July 2000
By Jason Radley - Published on
If you have ever had even a passing interest in the history of Japan from the perspective of the warrior class who played a major role in defining it, then this is probably the best choice of book on the subject. It approaches the topic from the earliest accounts of the samurai right though to the end of the samurai era, taking a fairly high level, "big picture" type view. The book looks more at the "why" something happened, than the "how" of events. This provides some fascinating insights into the history of Japan and allows the reader to grasp the overall history of feudal Japan with just the right balance of details and objectivity. That said, there is still quite a bit of detail of some of the more notable battles, but high level, campaign type information is not the purpose of this book. It is more interested in letting the reader understand what happened in Japanese history and why it unfolded as it did, with out bogging down in micro detail. The book is superbly researched and is very well written, and despite the fact that it is a "history" book, it is a very enjoyable, extremely informative read. It is thoroughly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative and Entertaining 18 Oct 2007
By China Mike - Published on
Stephen Turnbull, in my opinion, is one of the foremost historians of Japanese military history, and certainly one of the most prolific. His writings are well researched and represent the various strata of the eras he writes. Starting with the early history of Japan and extending his writings through the Edo Period, events are written not only of the deeds of the samurai, but also of the political, religious, and cultural influences that helped form this unique class of warriors. Forces in society such as the Emperor, the establishment of Buddhism and later Christianity as a religion, and the numerous foreigners who entered Japan are all shown to have shaped them. Another aspect of this book which is very appealing is that where other historians will focus only upon the much broader aspects of Japanese history, Dr. Turnbull provides insight into the samurai culture by giving excerpts from chronicles of individual families within this warrior society, thereby stirring the imagination of his readers to a greater extent. This book is truly a great resource for understanding this fascinating military order.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-read for Japanese Military Historians 29 Sep 1998
By - Published on
I checked out this book from the library a decade ago. I have been looking to purchase it ever since. Turnbull covers the length and breadth of Japanese military history, up to the end of the Samurai era in the 1860's. This book has information which is not available elsewhere. Turnbull's book includes maps, battle accounts, political history and other information that makes Samurai history come alive. You will be extremely pleased with the depth and quantity of the information available in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding for anyone interested in Samurai history. 2 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Dr. Turnbull approaches this book as a loving historian. He blends the fact, mythology, and romance of the Samurai in a book dedicated to its accuracy. He understands the place the samurai holds in the minds of the japanese people and in others as well, and does everything he can to keep the legend alive, while telling the history the way it really was. It was very enlightening, and meticulously researched.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... excellent and superior. 3 April 2010
By JEWn - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My personal introduction to the subject, I bought The Samurai: A Military History to satiate a passing interest after seeing Kurosawa's Ran. That said, Turnbull's is an excellent and superior effort that proved both exceedingly readable (in light of the subject matter) and enormously entertaining. Honestly, I can't speak highly enough of this book. The Samurai: A Military History was the impetus behind my transition from passing interest to devoted connoisseur, and I am forever grateful!
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