Most helpful positive review
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
At first I was skeptical with this book when I decided to get a translation of Shoninki, because of some of the controversy surrounding the author. So I purchased the Axel version instead. But upon investigating the work of Antony Cummins, I came to the conclusion that most of the controversy is not founded in any objective criticism, but rather in personal attacks due to the author's comments regarding Bujinkan and modern Ninjitsu.
So from a skeptic, I came all the way, to my current opinion that this is a far better translation of Shoninki than the version by mr. Axel. The book is very detailed, and pays much attention to details. The author states that a lot of footnotes were incorporated into the text itself due to publisher's request. This is my only objection to this book, but I know the author didn't have a choice in the matter as much.
In regards to the work itself. It might be a disappointment to those who are used to the popular image of a Ninja warrior provided by media and modern Ninjutsu schools, which are unable to prove their lineage. This isn't a book for kids playing with shurikens. It's a manual on espionage, communication skills, strategy etc.
In fact it is much more usable in everyday life, than any martial arts book could ever come close to be. As the shoninki states itself, the real war is fought with words, not weapons. And the greatest Shinobi is he who manages to have no enemies. If a Ninja has to hit someone or use a sword, then he is a really bad Ninja. This is the whole message of the book.
If anyone is interested in REAL Ninpo, historical Ninpo, as opposed to modern imaginative reenactments, or 80's movies nonsense, I'd recommend this book. If you are, like me, looking to buy any translation of Shoninki and can't make up your mind, I'd advise you to buy this one first(and others then just to compare).