Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Luxury Beauty Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Indie for the Holidays in Prime Music Shop Now HTL
A Brief History of the Samurai and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous ownerâ€TMs name, some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Brief History of the Samurai (Brief History (Running Press)) Paperback – May 4, 2010

14 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, May 4, 2010
$42.94 $1.99

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jonathan Clements is a leading historian of Japan and China. He is the author of Beijing: The Biography of a City and A Brief History of the Vikings, as well as the highly acclaimed Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade. He lives in Finland and Tokyo.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Brief History (Running Press)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762438509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762438501
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history, including biographies of emperors and empresses, statesmen and warriors, foreign visitors and outcast rebels. His works have been translated into over a dozen languages, including French, Spanish, Korean and Dutch. His biographies of the First Emperor of China and Empress Wu have both been published in Chinese.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Lewis on July 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
So you think you know samurai? Think again. Whether you're Japanese or Other, your knowledge of Japan's fabled warrior class is likely based more upon years of pop culture misinformation than upon solid historical fact. And while we all love TV's _Shogun_ (my Japanese aunt owns the series and watches it yearly), James Clavell's depiction of the samuai of medieval Japan is geared more towards entertainment than education.

_A Brief History of the Samurai: A New History of the Warrior Elite_ by Jonathan Clements is more or less the opposite -- an accurate education on the origin and history of the samurai, cleverly disguised as entertainment. In its concise 300 pages, the book presents you with Clements' oceanic knowledge of the ways and workings of medieval Japan while avoiding the sort of dry, textbook prose that you might find in other books on the topic. Clements' lucid prose first paints in the background of Japanese history in brief, clear strokes, allowing you to picture the rise of Japan's warrior ethos from its occult origins in Nippon's pre-historic era to the era of the shogun. He then draws in the portraits of the famous samurai of history in flowing lines of narrative taken from the source documents of Japan's history.

And Clements gives you that history with all its ambiguity and bite, not the sanitized soft tofu of popular entertainment. His tales of martial prowess and chivalric derring-do are enjoyably readable, yet clear-eyed. As a nipponophile, Clements' makes no attempt to hide his love for the color and pomp of Japan's warring clans; as a scholar (and an honest man), he presents you with the poisonous chauvinism of medieval Japanese culture, the conquest and assimilation of the Ainu, and the genocide of Japan's Christian minority as well.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on August 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
`A Brief History of The Samurai' as it's name suggests, is a book that explores the history of the Japanese warriors without getting bogged down in excessive jargon or boring detail.

This book explores the rise of the Samurai, the various battles they fought in, the politics of the feudal lords who commanded them, the myths surrounding them and the impact of Samurai history on modern Japan.

This is well written, very clear and engaging and whilst some passages can be a touch dry, overall this book brings a certain colour and interest to this fascinating subject. On a minor note it would have been nice to have some illustrations and maps to clarify certain points raised and the last chapter, which links the Samurai to modern Japan, was a bit spurious and out of keeping with the rest of the book. But by and large this is a fascinating and informative read. This gives enough detail to make you feel informed, whilst not becoming stale or a slog to read and the assorted battles and wars made for gripping and exciting reading.

If Japan or the Samurai interest you in the slightest then I can heartily recommend this book and if you have a more in-depth interest then this is required reading and makes for a superb primer into the Samurai and their way of life.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stage 3 on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read Clements' books on the Coxinga and the First Emperor of China so I know and enjoy his style and this book is very much in that style. I enjoyed his easy pace while he still ensured that he passed on key information. Clements started with Japan before there were samurai as we would recognise them and then brings them into the picture for us. He deals extensively with the rise of the samurai as seen with the clash of the Taira and Minamoto clans. This chapter is really the start of the meat of the book that concluded with the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate. That however did not conclude the book as Clements looked as to what the samurai came to mean, especially after Japan's defeat in WW2.

I thoroughly recommend this book as Clements delivers very well on a brief history of the samurai providing a great starting point for further reading in a very engaging manner.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MDStien on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
I can't say I've ever come across a better book to start someone into a subject. As a reader who is very new to the topic of samurai and the study there of, I bought this book hoping it could ease me into the study of these fables warriors.

I was not disapointed.

The author packs nearly 2000 years of history into 300 pages and manages to make you feel like you are being flown through the history of these warriors from the gritty beggining to the inglorious end. Clements wit, detailed knowledge, and constant commentary make the read both enjoyable and entertaining. His knowledge of both ancient and contemporary Japanese culture is paired wonderfully alongside the facts and mythology of the samurai.

He stresses in the end just how much we don't (or cannot) know about these warriors whose histories are part fact, part story and part drama. He presents the information as he sees it and doesn't seem to deviate from the historical record in the slightest.

What was most helpful for me was how well sourced the book was and the literal gold mine of sources and reccomended readings his appendix provides! I earnestly reccomend it to those looking for a good primer on the samurai.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: suicide squad, history of the samurai