is a hardback history of that legendary warrior caste by Osprey Publishing LTD.
Authored by Stephen Turnbull, PhD, the book features over 200 pages in hardback, PDF and ePub formats. The hardback is catalogued as ISBN 9781472813725
, and Osprey's short code GNM
. Angus McBride contributes original artwork for the book.
Osprey tell us;
The world of the samurai, the legendary elite warrior cult of old Japan, has for too long been associated solely with military history and has largely remained a mystery. In this exciting new book, Stephen Turnbull, the world's leading authority on the samurai, goes beyond the battlefield to paint a picture of the samurai as they really were. The world of the samurai warrior is revealed to be one of great richness, with familiar topics such as the cult of suicide, ritualised revenge and the lore of the samurai sword being seen in the context of an all-encompassing warrior culture that was expressed through art and poetry as much as through violence.
Of all the legendary warriors of the past, none fascinate me more than the samurai. Let me tell you about this book.
is comprised of six chapters and three further sections presented through over 200 pages;
The warrior lifestyle
Arms and armour
'The way of the samurai is found in death'
The samurai at war
Strongholds of the samurai
The last samurai
Mr. Turnbull fills the book with Japanese terms to enhance the overall content and historical fact. While feudal warriors were part of Japan before the Middle Ages, it was not until the 10th century that first known use of 'samurai' was recorded.
Many terms and eras are defined and discussed including Shogun
, Bushido, the Meiji Restoration, and economics such as the koku
, the measure of wealth, being an amount of rice to feed one man for one year. Samurai culture and society, their lands and castles and castle towns, are also examined.
Wars and feuds are discussed including the watershed Mongol invasions, campaigns against sohei
warrior monks, the Shimabara rebellion, and the defining Gempei War.
Further terminology and explanations are presented, i.e., Minamoto Yoritomo who in 1192 appropriated the temporary commission of Shogun
upon himself as a dictator, the title surviving eight centuries until 1868. Diet and housing is explored as well.
There is no way to recount the samurai without examining their weapons and armor. Mr. Turnbull not only explains the samurai culture and society, their lands and castles and castle towns, he of course presents and names famous weapons and armor. The primary weapon of the samurai was originally the bow. The samurai also used exotic weapons such as battle smoking pipes and battle fans.
is an compilation of all aspects of the samurai life and society which defined Japan for millennia.
Many contemporary illustrations and artwork for Japanese scrolls and other manuscripts support the text. Enhancing those graphics are color photographs as well as original artwork by Angus McBride. Those images are very useful sources for modelers and artists of samurai subjects.
is an excellent book for modelers, artists and historians of the samurai and their era. Concise text presents a detailed overview of the samurai world, including Japanese terminology specific to the subject. Excellent contemporary and modern illustrations support the text, and several color photographs present an excellent visual source for extrapolation.
Finally, understanding the distant foundation of a culture helps to understand its more recent histories. I have no meaningful complaints about this book. I recommend it for modelers, artists and historians of the samurai and modern Japan.
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