2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2010
For those who have ever had an interest or studdied budo this is an interesting read.much of japans turbulent history overlaps so if you are versed in much of japans samurai warfare this isnt that exciting.there are some interesting sword techniques from the school to look at and practice if you have the time and an understanding of budo.the author has definatly put some time into the book and yagu was a prominant sword school.Worth a look if your intrest is in the swords schools.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2007
An accurate & comprehensive historical account of one of the world's greatest swordsmen dating back nearly 400 years, written in a clear & easy style that keeps the readers interest all the way through.
Almost "a rags to riches" story of a man who came from a humble background & rose to one of the highest positions in Japanese Society.
It gives proof that with a degree of dedication & persistence along with the constant practice & perfection of just one skill, in this case swordsmanship, one can use that skill & make a success of ones life & be rich in many more ways than just financial.
William Scott Wilson is a true genius when it comes to writing about ancient Japanese history & subjects concerning the life of famous samurai warriors. His successful & prolific writings are a testament to this.
About a third of the book is devoted to a very interesting background to the life of Munenori & life in Japan as it was nearly 400 years ago. Also, it was a bonus to see in this account many mentions made to another famous samurai that lived at the time - Miyamoto Musashi (author of "The Book of Five Rings" fame) & their spiritual companion & Zen Priest: Takuan Soho (author of "The Unfettered Mind"). These two great & so different warriors must have been aware of each others existence, one wonders whether they had ever met in person & if they had, what the outcome would have been?
A great historical & truly valuable account by a master writer, which ought to be on the top of any martial artists list of important books. Look out for Wilson's other title "The Lone Samurai" which traces the life of Munenori.
on 16 May 2015
A book as much about Zen as the sword. Deep, but worth the effort to understand whatever your "art". The author was a true swordmaster of samurai Japan - to find the lessons relevant to todays world has a charm that is hard to describe. If you are a martial artist this book will help you expand your learnings into the rest of your life, well it did me anyway! I dont pretend to understand it all, but that just makes the investment worthwhile as i'm sure it will be revisited many times. Reccomended.