Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior - A New History by John Man

Nonfiction / History  

320 pages / 1674 KB
5 Stars

I have read most of John Man's books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. As a historian, he knows how to do his research, as a travel writer, he knows how to make the places come alive on the page. If you're looking for a text book, go to another book. If you're looking for some interesting history and tidbits on Japan and the Ninja, this is the book for you.

There are footnotes scattered throughout. They are real footnotes at the bottom, or foot, of the page, not the abomination sweeping the publishing world called endnotes where you may or may not find them at the end of the chapter or book.

My biggest take away from the book was the difference between Ninja and Samurai. Ninja (who, by the way, preferred dark blue rather than black clothing) had the idea it was better to live and fight another day. Samurai prefer an honorable death at any cost.

Why, you may ask, did the Ninja prefer dark blue to black? It blends in with shadows better on a bright moonlight night. And most Ninja were farmers, and most farmers wore dark (indigo) blue clothing.

A lot of questions I had, some I hadn't realized I had, were answered in this easily read and very enjoyable book. Remember, this is not a textbook filled with dates and names and dry facts. Man is a travel writer, who is also a historian, and combines the two well. This book is a nice trip to Japan—both past and present and highly recommended.

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