Reviews for Japanese Samurai

Booklist Reviews 2010 April #1
The word people in the Ancient and Medieval People series might be a bit misleading. Warriors would be more accurate (Vikings, Hoplites, and gladiators are among others covered), and this book offers an introduction to perhaps the classiest warriors of them all. The central concept of Bushido gets glossed over with little more than a few bulleted lists and a description of seppuku, but there's plenty of attention paid to the unsensationalized particulars of armor, weaponry, and influential figures (though there's room for confusion when a picture captioned with "Shibata Katsuie led samurai troops in the Battle of Shizugatake" sits alongside a fact box that claims he didn't fight in that same battle). A history of Japan's three main feudal periods and the abolishment of the samurai class in the late nineteenth century bookend the details of samurai culture and provide context for their role in society. There probably aren't many things that rank higher than samurai on boys' awesomeness scale, so there shouldn't be any problem finding an eager readership for this book. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 November

Gr 4-6-Representing the best choice of all the warrior culture series reviewed here, these titles have a simple and elegant design with the proper balance of quality writing and quantity of information. Brief, informative discussions of social structures, army organization, weapons, tactics, and government form the core of the books. These are intermittently alternated with "Spotlight On" and "In Profile" sections that introduce historical battles, icons, and leaders such as Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga, knight William Marshal, Pharaoh Ramses II, and Emperor Commodus. Handy time lines, well-chosen photos of ruins and artifacts, quality illustrations, inset "Quick Facts," and "What You Should Know About…" features will grab reluctant readers and captivate even those with short attention spans. What was a Viking funeral like? What really happened at Thermopylae? These questions and many others are skillfully presented and answered and will surely leave readers hungry for more.

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