on June 9, 2005
This is a good biography of one of the most fascinating individuals in world history. The book is a look at Nobunaga's life from beginning to end, but the majority of the text is focused on his quest for ultimate power in Japan. The author gives a comprehensive view of Nobunaga's reign, covering cultural aspects as well as the obvious military and political developments. Although it can be rather dry at some times, the style this book is written in provides an easy read.
on November 17, 2013
I just finished reading this book and I have to say I am very impressed with the amount of research and effort that went into this book. I think it is a definite purchase for anyone with an interest in Oda Nobunaga's reign. I particularly enjoyed the amount of time the book spent describing Azuchi Castle, and what exactly such a grand castle meant to Oda's reputation. However, that being said, I can't recall any mention of its inevitable destruction in the days following Oda's death. Surely after defining the castle as such an important symbol of Oda's power it seems worthy of a mention in the days following Oda's death, when it was burnt to the ground. This is but one instance of selective writing that seems to regularly push out important information in the life of Nobunaga. I personally found the information concerning Oda's early life to be lacking. Particularly lacking is any description of his early battles in any amount of detail. The Battle of Okehazama gets barely a mention in this book, while other important battles are left unnamed. I personally believe that the battles and the thinking that went into campaigns are important clues in understanding Nobunaga's character.
The book reads like a collection of essays that sacrifices general knowledge for specific arguments that are not all that necessary.
That being said I cannot even hope to achieve the level of knowledge and understanding of such a complex leader like Nobunaga as the author here demonstrates. Despite slight disagreements in the direction of the narrative I gained great insight in specific aspects of Nobunagas life. This book is essential in understanding Nobunaga's interactions with Kyoto, his interaction with vassals, and his projects and works that were used to shape his public image. If this interests you more than a book on warfare and strategy then this is the book for you.