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lordameth
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:45 pm    Post subject: Back to Samurai William Reply with quote
... Backing slowly away from the troubles I've caused on the Tokugawa thread, talking about Clavell and historical accuracy...

Has anyone read "Samurai William" by Giles Milton? Do you suggest it? Is it relatively accurate, and good research and all that?
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Dude
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
never heard of it, sorry
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dude wrote:
never heard of it, sorry


Huge help.

I have it, but haven't read it yet. But from what I hear, the "westernization" of japanese terms is obnoxious (Scimitar v. katana or that sort of thing).
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
*Le Sigh* Samurai did not use scimitars!

That kind of stuff, I must say, gets on my nerves, as it obscures the true description just as much (if not moreso) than the original Japanese term would. I understand that most readers might not know what a hitatare is, for example, but I do, so if you say hitatare, I'll know what you're talking about, rather than if you write "overcoat" or something, which doesn't really describe the garment accurately at all...
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Annoying as it is with the use of westernized words like scimitars, I would suggest reading it as it will tell you a lot about int'l trade in early 17th century Japan as Milton relies heavily on actual contemporary diaries as his primary sources.

I haven't read it in years, but again, I would recommend it. The diary entries were quite interesting.

This book has also been discussed in detail in previous threads. I would suggest you try doing an in-forum search on it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I bought a copy for $6 at a used book store last year.
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Back to Samurai William Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
... Backing slowly away from the troubles I've caused on the Tokugawa thread, talking about Clavell and historical accuracy...

Has anyone read "Samurai William" by Giles Milton? Do you suggest it? Is it relatively accurate, and good research and all that?


I own the book. Unfortunately, it's now in a box on the way to Kumamoto. If you do a search, you should find comments I've made before about the book, but the bottom line is that Merton is very good at tracing the history of European trading and it's movement into Asia. He spends a lot of time on trade in the Dutch East Indies and Siam, so forth. While this is fascinating, it is EXTREMELY disappointing if you're looking for JAPANESE history. Merton is obviously NOT an expert in Japanese history, and there are gaping holes in some of what he writes. His sources seem to be entirely based on letters/documents written by the English/Dutch/European traders of the time. While it's fantastic to use primary sources, it doesn't give you the whole picture of Japanese history during the early 1600's by just looking at it through Will Adams's letter to England. He misses a lot of the greater context, and the book seriously suffers for it. There are several things (sorry, can't quote them since my book is in transit) he completely screws up which a simple reading of Sansom ahead of time would have prevented.

And *DON'T* start me on his "terminology". I guess he's trying to keep it in the "feel" of the European visitors to Japan, but his "scimitars" to refer to katana and "Codskindono", etc. is just painful.

Bottomline: good, enjoyable book, but don't get confused--it's about European trade in Asia, and NOT about Adams per se, or Japan. Japan and Williams are just the jumping off point, and appear in that context.

EDIT: I mean "Milton", not Thomas "MERTON". Sorry--that's a surreal slip.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I also own this book and just took another look at it - have to agree with everything ltdomer says above. And while it's a fast read the writing is actually full of clichés: doubts are always serious, hubris always overweening etc etc. If you don't mind that sort of thing, it's fine. But even though it's called Samurai William it's somehow not really about him, as ltdomer says there's far more about trade - and a great deal about Richard Cocks
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
and a great deal about Richard Cocks


[Butthead]..huh huh, you said "Richard"..."Cocks"...[/Butthead]
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I sat for ages wondering if I should make a silly joke about cocks etc (because Martin does give a lot of information about them indirectly in one way or another)but decided not to - and indeed I didn't need to Just Kidding

You can always rely on the guys in this forum (specially today for some reason Confused - what's in the air? Laughing )
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's in our charter. If there's some low hanging fruit like "Dick Cocks" just hanging there, waiting to be plucked, someone has to do it. I figure so many worse things could be said, it's a good thing I was here to do it first and keep it...SEMI-clean.
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A.L.Mundell
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I read this book right after I reread Shogun,what was interesting was to see where Anjinsan and Samurai William cross each other,its worth reading.
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