1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior

Book - 2013 2012
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"In this revelatory book, acclaimed author John Man's thrilling historical account brings to life the world of the ninjas, the Japanese "shadow warriors," whose otherworldly skills as assassins and spies still seize our imaginations like few characters before or since. Ninja is the first major history of these legendary masters of stealth warfare. Out of the violent chaos of medieval Japan, a remarkable band of peasants from the mountainous Iga and Koga provinces rose to become some of the world's most feared warriors. These poor villagers trained to perfect the art of ninjutsu--the deadly union of martial skill and deception--to defend themselves against far more powerful warlords, samurai, bandits, and warrior monks who sought to exploit them. They disciplined their minds as much as their bodies--sitting under waterfalls to purify themselves and adhering to mystical religious beliefs. By 1500, the ninja's extraordinary talents, from infiltrating cliff-top castles to carrying out daring strikes for the imperial shoguns, were in demand across Japan. Today, however, these real-life ninjas are overshadowed by legend and pop-culture caricatures. Could they fly? Climb walls? Cast spells? Survive being boiled alive? Or make themselves invisible? Drawing on a wealth of historical texts, local Japanese sources, and his long study of medieval Asia, John Man unravels the authentic ninjas, taking us back a millennium to their origins in China, through to their heyday in the bloody civil wars that ended with the unification of Japan in 1600."--Publisher website.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, c2013 c2012.
ISBN: 9780062222022
Call Number: 355.548 MAN
Characteristics: vi, 288 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Subjects: Ninja -- History.
Ninjutsu -- History.


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Apr 12, 2018

its ok

Feb 09, 2018

This is a highly informative, history book on ninjas - - not to be confused with pop culture, or mangas or anime, this is strictly fairly dry historical writing. By the end of this book, the reader will be more informed on the actual history of ninjas than any movie or TV show will have explained. Must be interested in the subject, it is history writing, after all.
[This has absolutely no bearing on this book or author, but Mr. Man does mention Ian Fleming and a James Bond book so it may be of interest to know of the historical connection between Fleming's family, real and fictional biographies of bad guys, the Civil War and Andrew Carnegie. Both the Fleming family fortune, and Andrew Carnegie's fortune, derived from their activities taking advantage of the Civil War: the original Fleming made a fortune selling sandbags to the Civil War militaries, which the family further increased by going into banking {the Flemings Banking network was purchased by JPMorgan Chase around 2000}; while Andrew Carnegie was appointed Superintendant of Railways and Telegraphs by his boyfriend, Thomas Scott {then Secretary of War, and the creator of that financial construct, the Holding Company}, which allowed Carnegie to do much insider buying and trading to make his fortune, then using his Civil War connections to score juicy government reconstruction contracts at the end of that war. Carnegie's bio reads similarly to Ian Fleming's fictionalized bio of Ernst Stavro Blofeld {founder of SPECTRE, as recounted in the novel, Thunderball}, except we recognize - - or should - - that Blofeld was an evil guy, while Carnegie is frequently cited as some kind of Great Man!]

BeccaBB Apr 04, 2013

Like all history books that pull out one aspect of history to talk about, I think you could get more out of it if you are familiar with the general history of the time and place. But it isn’t really necessary. It is interesting to see how and why the ninja came about. Everyone has heard of ninjas and knows the myths but to me the real history is actually more interesting even if it doesn’t make for as action packed a movie as the stories. I liked learning about how they were farmers and how they had their own code to live by. There is some general information and some very interesting stories about specific ninja actions. It starts at the very beginning, before the word ninja was used, right up to the present where you can see how people are trying to keep the ninja traditions alive. There were parts that I was less interested in because he starts talking about his own personal journey or the James Bond ninja connection. And sometimes it does go a little vague because the history just isn’t known. There were also times when I wasn’t sure we were talking about ninjas anymore because I was having trouble following the line that connected the story being related back to the subject at hand. I found the book interesting in general but there were times when I felt a little lost trying to put the stories in some sort of historical context because there were just so many names and so much time involved.

Mar 31, 2013

Fascinating, brings up whole areas I have never knew about the whole Ninja and Japanese culture of the time. Well worth the read.


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