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The Last Samurai


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Table of Contents

Note To The Reader. Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. "Powerfully Sentimental". Siago's Early Years in Satsuma. 2. "A Man Of Exceptional Fidelity." Siago and National Politics. 3. "Bones In The Earth." Exile and Ignominy. 4. "To Shoulder The Burdens Of The Realm." The Destruction of the Shogunate. 5. "To Tear Asunder The Clouds." Saigo and the Meiji State. 6. "The Burden of Death Is Light." Saigo and the War of the Southwest. Notes. Bibliography. Sources. Index.

About the Author

MARK RAVINA is an associate professor of Japanese history at Emory University and Director of the East Asian Studies Program. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Known as the "Robert E. Lee" of Japan, Saigo- (1828-77) first helped overthrow the feudal Tokugawa regime and establish Meiji Japan in1868, then in 1877 led a bloody, futile uprising against the new government. He feared the impersonal, commercial, and centralized nation would destroy samurai traditions of personal honor, regional loyalty, and social service. Ravina (director, East Asian Studies Program, Emory Univ.) is a careful scholar who nevertheless writes an action-filled story that resonates today. He shows us that Saigo- was no reactionary, though he harked back to the tradition of the socially responsible Confucian warrior who valued community, not class exploitation or individual advancement. Especially interesting is Ravina's presentation of Saigo- 's legacy in popular culture, where he became a folk hero, forcing the government to elevate him posthumously to a reconciling national martyrdom. Fascists and right-wing patriots from the 1930s to today have evoked samurai tradition, but their efforts are exposed as tawdry exploitation by this engrossing and thoughtful history. Highly recommended for all college and larger public libraries. [Interest in this period may be driven by the new Tom Cruise film of same name and period, though it is not based on this book.-Ed.]-Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

?In a pacy narrative that reads like a thriller, Ravina follows Takamori through his last battle?? (Good Book Guide, April 2005)

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