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School Library Journal
This book does an apt job of showing the evolution of the samurai class, discussing the different weapons and armor used by the warriors, and explaining specific battles. Individual samurai are also profiled. Miyamoto Musashi was a great swordsman, and also an unusual character. He rarely bathed but could cut a grain of rice on a man's forehead without breaking the man's skin. Tomoe Gozen was a rare female samurai. One tragic story tells of an eight-year-old emperor who was drowned by his grandmother in 1185 to avoid capture in the Battle of Dan no Ura. The writing is engaging and clear. Abundant, colorful illustrations add interest to the text. Adam Woog's A Samurai Warrior (Gale, 2005) is a more seriously toned, in-depth look at the samurai world in general. With its action-packed cover, brief biographies of actual fighters, and glimpses into ancient times, Real Samurai should find an appreciative audience among browsers, but its lack of documentation stymies its usefulness for reports.
—Anne Chapman CallaghanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.