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The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War by Stephen R. Turnbull...

The word "samurai" evokes intense images of indomitable warriors, expert swordsmen capable of taking on overwhelming odds-and emerging victorious. But this popular image only brushes the surface of the samurai tradition. The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War brings to life the history behind the courageous and highly disciplined fighting men of early Japan.

Authoritative military history expert Stephen Turnbull shows how the samurai evolved from the primitive fighters of the 7th century into an invincible military caste with a fearsome reputation. Many aspects of the samurai and their military significance are covered, including the cultural reasons why the elite mounted archers originally emerged in Japan; their wars against pirate invaders; how samurai masters taught the next generation; the women samurai and their accomplishments; and much more. Illustrated with full-color historical images that show the samurai tradition in fascinating detail, The Samurai Swordsman is an invaluable guide to an enduring legacy.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 9.25" Height: 12.25"
Weight:   3.28 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 15, 2008
Publisher   Charles E Tuttle Co
ISBN  4805309563  
ISBN13  9784805309568  
UPC  676251309560  

Availability  0 units.

More About Stephen R. Turnbull

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge University, and has two MAs (in Theology and Military History) from Leeds University. In 1996 he received a PhD from Leeds for his work on Japanese religious history. He travels extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library. His work has been recognized by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. In 2008 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University in Japan. Stephen Turnbull currently divides his time between lecturing in Japanese Religion and History at Leeds University and freelance writing.

Stephen Turnbull has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Real
  2. Weapon (Osprey)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Japan
2Books > Subjects > History > Military > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War?

New depiction of classics  Jun 6, 2008
Absolutely awesome graphics. Text is a sort of summary of other books of Turnbull. Anyway this book is very interesting, expecially for "rookies".
An examination of the true Samurai  Jun 6, 2008
The Samurai - in modern society, it's a shallow shell of what it formerly was - exaggeratedly awesome warriors capable of sundering tanks in two with there swords. But who were the real Samurai? "The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War" is an examination of the true Samurai, who dominated Japan during its feudal era, much like Knights once dominated Europe. Going deep into the nature of Samurai as complex individuals and not just swords with legs, it looks at everything - the Samurai statesman, the Samurai artist, and more. Enhanced with full color paintings throughout, "The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War" is highly recommended for community library history and art collections and for anyone who has always had a fascination with this warrior caste.
Yes, it really is that good  Apr 24, 2008
I have read most of the way through, and am *very* happy with this book. The text is engaging and full of interesting facts and anecdotes, the abundant illustrations make for an excellent collection of Japanese art, and the author's command of the subject matter is apparent. This is one I will read through several times.
Perfect Introduction  Dec 7, 2007
This book would serve as an excellent introduction to someone who has read little or nothing on the samurai; it covers their history from the days of the Yayoi tribesmen to their overthrow during the Meiji Restoration, and provides much readable detail on their culture, organization, religious beliefs, armor, clothing, and most interestingly, the full range of their deadly arsenal.

Though I have maintained a strong interest in the samurai for several years and have read many books on them, I still learned some things from this book (notably that they used axes in battle, as well as clubs and maces). Anything by Stephen Turnbull can be pretty much guaranteed to be well worth one's money. In short, this book would be especially good for beginners but worthwhile for veterans of Japanese military history as well.
Comprehensive Pictorial Guide  Jan 24, 2006

I'm not certain why the "Samurai" bug bites readers but in my case I lived outside Yokohama, Japan, on the Kanto Plain for 25 months between October, 1962, and December, 1964. (Please see also my review of Oliver Statler's early 1960's book, "Japanese Inn" for additional detail of this area).

Living only a stone's throw from the ancient Tokaido Road, once capital city Kamakura, and medieval Odawara castle, among many other sites, caused me to this very day to have an avocational interest for Japan in general and the Samurai in specific.

I have several of Stephen Turnbull's books, feeling him to be very well versed in all aspects of this field to the point of being a notable expert in that area. The term "expert" is bandied about these days oft times without substance or merit, but in Mr. Turnbull's case it is well justified.

This particular book is one I purchased a year ago, and for the price was very pleased with its content. Should one look into it a reader would find it a good, comprehensive guide to the Japanese warriors known as 'samurai'. There are specific armor and weaponry illustrations and descriptions, as well as four "see-through vellum sections" where each layer of clothing and protective armour offers insight into the dress of these warriors. The text flows evenly and can readily be understood. Should the reader be new to this area of study this volume would easily serve as a great introductory volume.

This oversize book is amply illustrated in color, and in 256 pages offers magnificently "the story of Japan's great warriors".

Semper Fi.

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