An eye-opening account of the first encounter between England and Japan, by the acclaimed author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg
In 1611, the merchants of London's East India Company received a mysterious letter from Japan, written several years previously by a marooned English mariner named William Adams. Foreigners had been denied access to Japan for centuries, yet Adams had been living in this unknown land for years. He had risen to the highest levels in the ruling shogun's court, taken a Japanese name, and was now offering his services as adviser and interpreter.
Seven adventurers were sent to Japan with orders to find and befriend Adams, in the belief that he held the key to exploiting the opulent riches of this forbidden land. Their arrival was to prove a momentous event in the history of Japan and the shogun suddenly found himself facing a stark choice: to expel the foreigners and continue with his policy of isolation, or to open his country to the world. For more than a decade the English, helped by Adams, were to attempt trade with the shogun, but confounded by a culture so different from their own, and hounded by scheming Jesuit monks and fearsome Dutch assassins, they found themselves in a desperate battle for their lives.
Samurai William is the fascinating story of a clash of two cultures, and of the enormous impact one Westerner had on the opening of the East.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|File size:||5 MB|
About the Author
Giles Milton is the author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg (FSG, 1999), Big Chief Elizabeth (FSG, 2000) and The Riddle and the Knight (FSG, 2001). He lives in London.
Giles Milton is a writer and journalist. He has contributed articles to most of the British national newspapers as well as many foreign publications, and specializes in the history of travel and exploration. In the course of his researches, he has traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. He has written several books of nonfiction, including the bestselling Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, and has been translated into fifteen languages worldwide. He is the author of the novel Edward Trencom's Nose.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book will fascinate any reader. The author doesn't write down his impressions of the story, or even tell it his way. Instead he uses the actual writings of the Englishmen in Japan to tell the story. William Adams was a great man and his story will shock the reader. It is the story of a poor English captain traveling with Dutch merchants to the Land of the Rising Sun. After arriving in Japan he becomes an advisor to Tokugawa Ieyusu, the leader of Japan and founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The author, Giles Milton, does a fantastic job with this story. I love the way he tells the story using the diaries of Adams, as well as other main characters. He accomplished his purpose, to tell the story of the first Englishmen in Japan, completely. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in need of an intriguing story.
This isn't a huge scholarly book with data and numbers such as 'Hideyohsi' by Mary Elizabeth Berry. It's meant to be something that can be read easily without the things like 'shugo' or 'inner and outer tozoma' or '300,000' koku etc...etc... This book is much easier for someone who has no knowledge of old Japanese history to pick up and read. Compared to Stephen Turnbull books, Samurai Williams is would be a novel- but it's not. Perhaphs one could say that it is a historical-nonfictional-novel. The author uses MANY quotes right out of William's diary and other sources. The 'English' that williams uses is quite different from the English we use today. Now add in various Japanese sources and now that must have been a lot of work. If your interested in Jame Clavell's shogun- this book is for you. It talks about an English captain stranded in Japan. Lo and behold this fellow finds himself as a personal advisor to the shogun! Goes into some detail on the Catholic situation in Japan too. Some of that section was quite moving.