Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior
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Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior

4.6 19
by John Man
     
 

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The first major pop history of the Japanese stealth assassins, John Man's Ninja is a meticulously researched, entertaining blend of mythology, anthropology, travelogue, and history of the legendary shadow warriors.

Spies, assassins, saboteurs, and secret agents, Ninja have become the subject of countless legends that continue to enthrall us in modern

Overview

The first major pop history of the Japanese stealth assassins, John Man's Ninja is a meticulously researched, entertaining blend of mythology, anthropology, travelogue, and history of the legendary shadow warriors.

Spies, assassins, saboteurs, and secret agents, Ninja have become the subject of countless legends that continue to enthrall us in modern movies, video games, and comics—and their arts are still practiced in our time by dedicated acolytes who study the ancient techniques.

Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior, by British historian John Man, is as colorful and intriguing as the warriors it so vividly brings to life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A historian and travel writer specializing in Asia, Man exposes the history of the secretive ninja, a.k.a. shinobi, and differentiates him from his public counterpart, the samurai. Unlike the latter, the survivalist ninja eschewed self-sacrifice and the seppuku (hara-kiri) ordeal, aiming to "get close to the enemy" in order "to learn and return." Westerners recognize ninjas as "sinister men in black" acting as "spies, scouts, surprise attackers, and agitators," but may not realize they originated in the old Japanese provinces of Iga and Koga as peasant farmers linked to neighbors and communities in self-defense networks. Man explains other salient figures of the ninja heyday (1400-1600C.E.) like the shogun (chief samurai and military dictator) and daimyo (feudal lord). As experts in covert warfare, ninjas underwent extensive training including the casting of spells, which were "useful but not infallible." Ninjas were believed to "guarantee a quick victory" during wartime, up until their 17th century demise. Man employs humor and a casual, travelogue style, interposing relevant personal anecdotes to illustrate how the ninja's day is long past, or else his art of invisibility is more effective than ever.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
In a book that is part history and part travelog, British popular historian Man (Attila) takes a wide view in searching for the truth about historical “shadow warriors” and their modern counterparts. Early chapters trace the development of ninjas and their skills by sweeping through Japan’s tumultuous history with accounts of their exploits, interspersed with Man’s own observations on rumored ninja techniques and various historical locations (such as the former sites of the Koga and Iga schools of ninjutsu). Later chapters explore the concept of the “modern” ninja, ninja ideals in World War II espionage, the romanticization of the ninja figure, and the transmission of the idea to Western culture (focusing in particular on the James Bond film You Only Live Twice). Man writes entertainingly while providing vivid anecdotes and dispelling myths, but he’s limited by both the paucity of historical accounts of ninjas and his own reliance on English-language sources or a translator. While the later chapters supply some interesting viewpoints, their connection to legitimate ninja history at times feels tenuous.

Verdict An engaging volume for the casual reader or those with a general interest, but others in search of a sturdier volume on the subject might prefer to rely on Stephen Turnbull’s works such as Ninja: The True Story of Japan’s Secret Warrior Cult.—Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Intriguing look at the enigmatic world of the deadly Asian assassin. Historian and travel writer Man (Samurai, 2011, etc.) carefully plumbs the ninja's surprisingly intricate history of stealth strategizing. Popularly thought of as "comic-book creatures," the author re-establishes the folklore of these fearless "shadow warriors" and examines their historical roots in China, where a "proto-ninja" was first thought to have been enlisted. Shrouded in secrecy, these commissioned, intuitive masters of disguise were able to covertly insinuate themselves into situations, carry out orders of espionage or sabotage, and just as elusively, slip out unnoticed from even the most well-guarded fortresses. In an early chapter, the author provides a ninja-style how-to guide of self-protection secrets, though the origins of their skill sets are somewhat sketchy. Man postulates that these ninja talents may have arisen from bandits, mountain ascetics called yamabushi or nomadic monks. With a conversational delivery, the author offers a guided tour through Japan's many ninja tourist attractions and fascinating glimpses into the shinobi legacy, which survived a hierarchy of unifiers and shoguns only to eventually acquiesce to Western culture's mythical interpretation of them. In today's world, Man concludes, a good amount of fantasy is necessary to keep the spirit and the lore of the ninja alive. A thoroughly researched, appealing examination of the "original men in black."
Literary Review
Ninja is a racy popular history of a difficult and often mythologised subject and should appeal to the armchair warrior in us all.”
The Guardian
“An immensely entertaining history, packed with splendidly blood-thirsty tales of derring-do, feats of endurance and self-sacrifice.”
Bookreporter.com
“As colorful and intriguing as the warriors it so vividly brings to life.”
Simon Sebag Montefiore
“One could ask for no better storyteller than John Man.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062222022
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,328,374
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.11(d)

What People are saying about this

Simon Sebag Montefiore
“One could ask for no better storyteller than John Man.”

Meet the Author

John Man is the author of Attila, Genghis Khan, The Great Wall, Gobi: Tracking the Desert, Ninja, Samurai, and other works. Educated at Oxford and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, he was awarded Mongolia’s Friendship Medal in 2007.

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Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book by some standards. A little slow. Still a good book for anyone interestested in history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im the real zixzan not the imposter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Greetings
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Yes. My parents were ninja. But I didn't know until I was fourteen. Even then, I wasn't exactly the best ninja, either." I finish that sentence in time to see the girl in the back- big, green eyes, straight brown hair down to her hips- shyly raise her hand. I was at Sensei Darius' Dojo, giving my normal speech, the one more about my life and past than ninja and self-defense. "Yes, you have a question?" She nods. It's funny how much she looks like my uncle and my mom. "Grace, ma'am, erm..." I could see my cousin Esme now, the shyness and beauty. "So, do you have any moves to teach us? Or, at least tell us the important moves you did in the most defining moments of your life?" I gave her a soft smile, noting that, despite her quietness, another person, a young boy about her age, was sitting right next to her. "Well, my defining moments are mainly about family and friends. But when I met my husband at age fourteen, I was actually doing the army crawl. Through a vent." She gave a wan smile, nodded firmly once, then looked back down, her hoodie pulled over her hair, fingering something in her pocket. ~-~ "So, I think you did a great job, and you actually got Trystan to say more than she usually does. I declare it a success." Evan, the student teacher, stated. I shook my head. "Wait a second. Trystan, she's the girl in the back, right?" He nods. "May I talk to her privately, really quickly?" Of course, I had all the time in the world. But Grant would be sort of worrying. We live all the way across New Ninjago City from here. This is sort of the slum of the city. I wish it were different. He nods again, and calls up the stairs. "Tryst!" She slowly descends the stairs, nodding to both of us. Then she follows me as I enter the main room, taking the window seat facing the park. "Hey. I just wanted to say that I am proud of how you braved asking that question to a stranger. I kind of gather that you're not a people person." She nods. "I guess you're kinda my idol, Grace. I can't even stand my family. That's why I ran away. But you stand all of your cousins, your aunts and uncles, your parents, and found your other family. And manage to keep your sanity for public and for your own husband and kids." I gave her another light smile. "That's me. And you're you. Do you get that?" She nodded. I didn't care that she'd just called me her idol. I wanted to help this girl in any way I could. She reached into her pocket again, pulling out whatever she was fingering. A locket. It was golden, the heart with a pink bow above it. She clicked it open. "This is my family. Ma gave it to me when I was little. This is me, and that's my grandma, who I apparently look like." I studied it before I gave a gasp. The face belonged to my daughter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
o--|============> um rate this 1-5 thanks - thuggninja144
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O====|::::::::::::::::::::::::::/ T_T
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meh, not helping. Oh, um, Sunsetpaw is kitting at camp. That's where she is. And I'm not going to be at camp for it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Helo im new...... im also looking fer a mate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sighs
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS MY KATANA BLADE!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You little B#$%& i dont know who you think your talking too but mabe you should get your facts straight and think because zixans BROTHER was using his name you stupid skank!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waks in. Is so stealthy that even Ninjastar doen't notice him come in. Stands in a corner and says, "Greetings."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to reunion res 2. We have kat celestia and rissencrest
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U on?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bye
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zixzan is locked out and says to go to dog result one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello