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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2002
Giles Milton has produced a compelling book on a unique piece of history. He uses original archive information to produce a 'novel' type of history about a remarkable man, who reached great heights in the pecking order of Japan. Mr Milton's writing style is easy on the brain, yet is full of information and emotion. A first class read, and quite un-put-downable!
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on 7 January 2004
Giles Milton's book is certainly a well written piece of pop history and very entertaining. However, if you are looking for accuracy and veracity, this isn't the book to read.
As another reviewer noted, it spends considerable time on the general situation but while doing this it fails to make more than passing mention of Jan Joosten one of Adam's shipmates who held a similar postition in Japan.
It also has a very anglocentric view, uses unreliable sources - as an example, there is no reliable source which actually named Adam's Japanese wife - and imply's many thing's which are simply not true.
So, if you want historical entertainment then this is the text for you, just don't take what you read to be gospel truth.
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on 31 July 2012
Yet another very readable and interesting history book from Giles Milton.

This book ties in with Nathaniel's Nutmeg, not that it sets out to do so but there are parts of each story that overlap. I rather enjoyed this aspect of it because it expands the reader's knowledge of Europe's network of Far East trade at that time in an easy and quite pleasurable way. Overall I think I preferred this one.

The story is a good deal wider than just "Samurai William's" tale covering Europe's relatively brief interactions with Japan during the 17th century. It's a gripping story, superbly told and I rattled through it one day whilst on holiday.
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on 4 July 2002
I was dissapointed in this book as the title is very misleading, it should be 'Personal histories of Traders in Japan of the 17th Century'. This is certainly not a book about William Adams the Samurai Lord.
Where I was hoping to read more about an Englishmans encounter with Japanese customs and culture, I found a book about all the Traders, Adventurers and trade in South East Asia rather than Adams himself.
So if you like to read about the history of English Trade this is the book for you, if however, you are interested in the history of William Adams or Japan I would suggest you find another book.
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on 19 March 2014
I watched Richard Chamberlain play the role of William Adams in the 70's series "Shogun". A great story, the true Samurai William much more interesting than anything Hollywood could come up with. Plus he was born a stones throw from me.
If you are interested in Japan and Japanese culture you will love this true story.
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on 16 May 2016
Giles Milton's has a way of writing history that is always entertaining and enlightening. I love learning the history of places I have not had the pleasure (yet) of visiting and this is a great way to do it. His work is less like a textbook and more like a novel so it is captivating and informative at the same time.
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on 21 December 2013
Think the name of the above was Shogun, but this is the original and a very interesting story too. You really were on your own in the far East and letters were unreliable. Will must have missed his family terribly but his was an amazing life and shows Mrs Adam's as a feisty lady too.
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on 1 January 2016
an excellent and fascinating account of early Japan and about someone who was obviously quite exceptional
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on 6 February 2013
Reading this you can see where Clavell got the plot from. A very good book which I can really recommend
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on 13 January 2014
I really enjoyed the book that i bought the rest of the Giles Milton books to read at my liesure
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