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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse Yourself ...
In the 1970's I watched a black and white movie one Sunday afternoon entitled King Rat. The film was o.k. but of bigger relevance was my mum pointing out to me that she had the book. I started it that evening and struggled to put it down. Mr Clavell, I found , was an extremely talented storyteller. From that day I ensured that I read all of the books in the 'Asian Saga'...
Published on 10 Dec 2003 by D. G. Reid

versus
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, let down by poor Kindle edition
First, let it be said I enjoyed this book. A real "ripping yarn" complete with fights, escapes, pursuits, assasins, plots, romance, honor, revenge, betrayal- the whole bundle. Unfortunately it was let down by a Kindle edition that is really sub par. As this book includes Japanese and Portugese names, it'd be nice if the Kindle could cope with accented letters instead of...
Published on 14 April 2012 by Andrew J. Tindall


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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse Yourself ..., 10 Dec 2003
By 
D. G. Reid "reebox" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In the 1970's I watched a black and white movie one Sunday afternoon entitled King Rat. The film was o.k. but of bigger relevance was my mum pointing out to me that she had the book. I started it that evening and struggled to put it down. Mr Clavell, I found , was an extremely talented storyteller. From that day I ensured that I read all of the books in the 'Asian Saga'. I didn't read them in chronological order and didn't even get to Shogun until the middle of the 1980's. I found very early on that Shogun had the same grip over me as King Rat and Noble House. The book is huge but you wouldn't wish it shorter by a sentence. In fact I would even go so far as to say that it ends prematurely. The final confrontation between Toranaga and Ishido could have provided content for a couple more chapters and we are left guessing as to Pilot Major Blackthornes future.

This novel has everything, action, intrigue, love, drama and is written so cleverly that you find yourself immersed in the Japanese samurai culture of bushido. Prior to reading Shogun I didn't know a single word of Japanese by the end of the book you are reading and understanding entire sentences !

I have re-read this book a number of times, it is my favourite by far. I even stumped up 30 to buy the 9 hour video box set. Unfortunately the video is a poor substitute as it cannot hope to illustrate the depth of the story in the same way the novel does.

My simple advice would be to buy the book and read it as quickly as time allows. Its an adventure and an education.

Brilliant !
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You simply must buy it., 18 Jun 2007
By 
pikeman "last_man_standing" (an island in the eastern Atlantic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shogun (Hodder Great Reads) (Paperback)
I bought this book for the first time when I was 19 in 1982.

I have since bought two more copies simply because I have reread it so much the first two copies fell apart.

It just doesn't get much better than this story of a man dumped into a world completly different from anything he (or we) have seen before.

It's like the best science fiction in that it creates a world massively different to anything we've seen before - and makes us care about it and want to understand it.

Following directly from Shogun I bought 15-20 books about Japan - just becasue it was so compelling I wanted to know more about the country and it's history and it's people.

It's not going too far to say that this book changed my view of the world and has been a constant friend for a quarter of a century
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clavell's masterpiece: story-telling at its best, 7 Jan 2002
I must have read Shogun at least 10 times by now but I will never tire of it. Far and away Clavell's best work (King Rat and Tai-Pan a little unengaging; Gai-Jin an over-ambitious sequel), Shogun boasts a tragic love story, the clash of two rival cultures, an engrossing power struggle betweeen rival warlords in feudal Japan - and makes us care passionately about all of it.
The genius of Shogun is that it gives us both a hero to pin our hopes on - Richard Blackthorne, stranded Elizabethan sailor - and yet a fantastic canvas of other characters and sub-plots, all of whom make up an unforgettable picture of a civilisation I had previously known next to nothing about. Read it. And again. And again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Domo arigato, Clavell-san., 7 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I picked up Shogun at the insistence of a close friend, and 3 weeks later I thanked him profusely. Words can't adequately describe this novel. It seems intimidating at first, but as you progress through it you feel yourself being drawn into the world Clavell has so brilliantly created. The world of Blackthorne, Toranaga and Mariko becomes a second live, a place of escapism and fantasy that threatens to consume you with its scintillating narrative. You care for the characters, and feel closer to them than many people you know. There's something for everyone; love, war, plot, counter-plot, points of searing violence juxtaposed with moments of exquisite tenderness. At the very least, Shogun will change the way you approach literature in the future. At the most it will change your life...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visceral Beauty, 31 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I chose this book expecting bloody Samurai battles and violent Ninja Warfare. Even though there was far less of this than I hoped for I still loved this book. The multiple first person perspective is used well and all the characters are well formed and have their own depth. The political details and most importantly cultural insight in this book are fully rewarding and gave me a much better understanding of Bushido and other previously incomprehensible aspects of ancient Japanese society.
However the main thing that struck me about this book was how involved I became with the characters. Usually when there are romantic parts in a novel a trudge through them waiting for the more interesting sections, but the romance in this book was so well mastered and described that I really felt their love, their joy, their loss. This book is simply beautiful and could have carried on for another thousand pages, continuing to immerse me in its panoramic veiw of feudal Japan and my intimcay with the characters. Simply magnificent.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genious!, 14 Nov 2005
To understand why this book is a work of pure genious and, in my opinion, one of the best 'historical' novels ever written, it is critical to understand that James Clavell spent most of his wartime years imprisoned in Japanese POW camps. It was during his time in captivity that Clavell developed the extremely profound understanding of Asian culture which made his books come alive with a very rich characterization of Asia.
Shogun is a highly entertaining story with many twists and side-stories, set in the bizarre surroundings provided by feudal Japan and is, by itself, a very good and interesting read. However, the real genious of Clavell's work only becomes apparent when you begin to realize that, perhaps for the first time of your life, you really feel that you are begining to "understand" the complex and confusing phenomenon that is Japanese culture.
I think that Shogun (and, for that matter, most of Clavell's other books of the "Asian Saga") is a 'must read' for anyone with an interest in Asian culture...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clavell - An Author Who Is A Master Of Detail, 21 July 2002
In this review, although directed at shogun more so because it is the best of Clavell's works, what I say in here can be applied to all of his works. All of Clavell's books are the work of sheer genius, each one unlike almost every author that I have read paints an entire picture of the story rather than following just the main character. Although Clavell's books seem a major challenge because of their size, the truth is that every last sentance is used to immerse you completely in the world of the story leaving nothing to question. Shogun is a work of pure perfection, and the duet of Tai Pan and Noble House (make sure that you read them in that order) is another example of Clavell's pure supremacy in writing. My suggestion is buy Shougn and read it, then buy and read Tai Pan and Noble House (in that order) followed by the rest of Clavell's Asian works. Not only will you be reading for at least the best part of a year but you will love every minute, and if your mates get it aswell I guarantee enless lost hours in the pub discussing the events of the novels
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 28 Dec 2000
I'm in love! My husband gave this book to me as a present and now, a week or so later, I've also read 'The King Rat' and just rushed to order the rest of Clavell's books. I am quite careful about what I read and how I praise/damn the books I read. This is no doubt one of the best books I've ever read and it will be kept safely with the rest of my favourites.
At first I found Shogun a bit heavy. Not being a native English speaker, I was a bit confused by the technical bits about sailing. I was not sure I liked it - yet after the first chapter I was hooked!
The characters are so well created that I had difficulty putting this book down, and then I did it only so that I would be able to enjoy this book for longer. The plot is a real page-turner, with so many twists and turns, yet flawlessly within the characters. If you are interested in the art of manipulation, read and learn! If you are interested in Far East, read it! If you are interested in a clash of totally different cultures, read it! Just read it!
I would recommend this book to anyone. I learned more about Japanese culture and I can see now the logic where I thought there was none. Well, I'm off - I'm going to read it again, savouring it page by page, until the rest of James Clavell's books arrive.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honor and Barbarians, 24 Oct 2003
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
'Historical' fiction is something of a misnomer, as books placed in this category are almost always fiction first and 'historical' only in time and setting. Shogun, however, comes close to being a true example of this field, detailing the late 16th century exploration and exploitation of the Orient by the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and English. As few people are aware of some of the atrocities and cruelties committed in the name of crown and religion during this period, some of the scenes depicted in this book may come as a shock. But they provide an excellent background portrait of the European mind-set of those times, a palette that Clavell uses to contrast and define the extraordinarily different culture of the Japan of that time.
And it is his portrait of the Japanese, his lovingly detailed characterizations of Toranaga, Mariko, Omi and their deeply intertwined interactions with the English pilot Blackthorne that defines and breathes life into this breathtakingly large and complex story of love, war, and political intrigue. And these characters are not static. Each grows and changes as events unfold, most especially Blackthorne himself, growing from a totally self-centered 'barbarian' of unclean habits to a person who can appreciate the beauty, intelligence, and moral rectitude of others, who comes to care deeply for those around him, who comes to understand a philosophy of life totally different from that of his own culture. Mariko develops into a very strong woman, far from the stereotypical picture of Japanese ladies. Toranaga develops slowly, mostly in the background, but by the end of the book his abilities as a master strategist and his carefully controlled ambitions become obvious. The reader will eventually take each of these characters into his heart, will live right along with them and their problems, cares, successes, and failures, until they are almost more real than the mundane world the reader inhabits.
Is this book totally historically accurate? No, but it doesn't really need to be. It is a fictional account of one of the defining moments of Japanese history, with all the requirements of a work of fiction, written for a Western audience, and certain items have yielded to literary license to make the story more approachable by the reader. Certainly Toranaga would not have played chess, but would Western readers have understood 'Go' as metaphor for Toranaga's deep political machinations? But these are very minor distortions of the historical record. As a story, a tale of high adventure, as a hard look at alternative life philosophies, as an exposition of a very exotic time, place, and culture, this work succeeds on almost every level. This is an excellent read that will expand your horizons and enrich your life, entertain you and satisfy your inner craving for something different from the every-day world of today.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shogun, 5 April 2009
By 
What else would you expect from a writer like James Clavell. When You use a word like excellent, then excellently or supremely would appear insignificant, excellently excellent, sounds crass Clavell, moving forward to greater volumes, doesn't do justice. Clavell was a seriously good writer, the only compensation is that good writers live forever and ever and ever, in 200 years somebody will pick up a seriously fragile book and be as enthralled as I am today. Thankyou James Clavell.
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Shogun (Hodder Great Reads)
Shogun (Hodder Great Reads) by James Clavell (Paperback - 5 Jun 2006)
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