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Saigo Takamori (1828–77) was one of Japan's most colorful and complicated figures, famed in history, fiction, and legend as "the last samurai" for his roles in the Meiji Restoration and his leadership of the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion. Man (Ninja: 1000 Years of the Shadow Warrior; A New History) peppers his biography of Saigo with additional chapters on the samurai as a whole (with the expected discussion of bushido—the samurai honor code—and seppuku, a form of its ritual suicide) and on the development of the samurai's appeal in popular culture. As in his previous work, above, Man provides engaging accounts of Japanese culture, but again he is limited by a reliance on English-language resources. Some glaring mistakes, e.g., a photo of Tatsuya Nakadai in the film Harakiri is miscaptioned as Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai, undermine the book's credibility as a whole. VERDICT Despite errors, this is an entertaining read, though its appeal lies in its breezy style and its discussions of the modern-day popularity of samurai rather than in historical rigor. For that precision, see Mark Ravina's The Last Samurai, which remains the standard for an English-language biography of Saigo.—Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, Libs.