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Shogun: A Novel of Japan [Hardcover]

James Clavell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, June 1975 --  
Paperback CDN $15.16  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $10.79  
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Book Description

June 1975
A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power...
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Review

"Superbly crafted...grips the reader like a riptide...gets the juices flowing!"—Washington Star

"Exciting, totally absorbing...be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended..."—Philadelphia Inquirer

"Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships...a climactic human story." —Los Angeles Times

“A tale surging with action, intrigue and love...a huge cast…vast and dramatic ...stunning…savage...beautiful...an extraordinary performance.”
Publishers Weekly

“I can’t remember when a novel has seized my mind like this one....It’s not only something you read–you live it.” –New York Times Book Review
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust and the struggle for power.

"Superbly crafted. . .grips the reader like a riptide. . .gets the juices flowing!"--Washington Star.

"Exciting, totally absorbing. . .be prepared for late nights, meals unlasting, buisness unattended. . ."--Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Adventure and action, the suspense of danger, shocking, touching human relationships. . .a climactic human story."--Los Angeles Times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite novel!!! May 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The best book I've ever experienced!!! note:There are some historic inconsitincies such as the name of Toranaga is actually named Tokugawa. The clash of western civilization and eastern civilization in the beginning of the 17th century is told very well in this story. It is a very long read but, by the time you finish you want more!! It is an epic, action, suspense, romance novel, filled with all the elements of a great read. ---the greatest novel I've read so far!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Became one with the story July 17 2004
By Dave
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I know this is an old book by contemporary standards, but I just read it. WOW! I became one with the book as Blackthorne, and the story and all the love and excitement and you name it. I could hardly put it down. Such a wonderful story if you don't get caught up in the historical facts of the time, which the book is obviously based upon.
I was once a seafarer myself. I just became Blackthorne as I read the story, and I found myself loving Mariko too. How could could any man not??? hehe. Such a wonderful story of deceit, hate, brothership, obedience, love and hate, savagry and brutality, and just a new awakening to an Englishman who knew nothing of wordly life other than that of his loving England and his life on the high seas. I was just lost in the story. I wish I could meet a woman like Mariko today. Such a most wonderful and beautiful woman in fiction. I wish I could find one who exists today. If they only did, WOW!!! hehe???
I recommend this book to anyone who is a romantic and loves a good yarn and is not upset by some of the violence and pictures of brutality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Masterpiece -- Must Read! May 4 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Shogun" is one of my absolute favorite novels. James Clavell masterfully weaves a tale of gigantic scope -- the clash of the Orient versus the West, civil war, religious strife, forbidden love, and the rise of Lord Toranaga to the position of Shogun. To even attempt to tell such a tale is an astounding feat, and yet Clavell tells the story with such intimacy and power that the reader can't help but be swept away.
John Blackthorne, English pilot of a Dutch merchant ship, accidentally finds Japan after a storm blows his scurvy-ridden ship ashore. He awakes to find himself in a beautiful, alien land -- a tall, blonde, blue-eyed European, he could not appear more out of place than among the short, delicate-yet-deadly Japanese. Language is just one of the many barriers to be crossed. While Blackthorne is horrified by Japanese brutality -- a samurai viciously beheads a peasant who fails to bow -- Blackthorne is also introduced to the wonders of Japan, such as the simple pleasure of a hot bath.
Much of the story revolves around Blackthorne's "education," and how he learns to become Japanese. While Blackthorne is one heck of a capable guy, Clavell wisely shows Blackthorne repeatedly struggling with the transition -- his difficulty learning the language is a nice touch.
Along the way, Blackthorne meets and falls in love with the beautiful Mariko, who bears the burden not only of a tormented bull of a husband (the warrior Buntaro), but also the curse of her family caused by a treacherous ancestor. Blackthorne also meets the wily, sadistic Yabu, who boils one of Blackthorne's crew members alive for his pleasure and is one of the most unreliable allies one could wish for.
Blackthorne also finds himself a major player in Lord Toranaga's undeclared civil war.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Shogun is a story of high drama and excitement set upon the stage of feudal Japan. The protaganist is Blackthorne, an Englishman who captains a Dutch privateer around 1600. He comes to Japan and becomes embroiled in the politics of that time, learns about bushido, falls in loves, and befriends one of the most powerful people in feudal Japan.
When he comes to Japan, it is a completely alien society to him. He is unprepared for a civilization that regards money and trade with disdain, and where life can be thrown away so easily. It is a place where duty overshadows every other virtue. If you read a lot of science-fiction, you'll notice that a similar them exists in "first contact" stories where humans come in contact with aliens that have bizarre worldviews. In some ways, the culture of Japan as presented here is just as strange as (or more than) any of these extraterrestrial cultures. By the end of the book, you will comprehend the beauty and values of the culture, and characters that acted in nearly incomprehensible ways will become logical.
The politics and intrigue are riveting. It is fascinating to be taken into the minds of many different characters as they vie for power--yet you are never taken all the way in. A shadow always conceals much of the ambitions and strategies of the key characters. The plotting is unpredictable, while at the same time being entirely believable--because the characters make it believable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great joy and some disappointment March 23 2004
By arto
Format:Mass Market Paperback
And still it's well worth 5 stars. the first two thirds of this book is quite simply the richest and funniest story I have ever read. Clavell combines elements of power politics, culture clash, intrigue and romance in such a powerful way, just when a few pages of one aspect leaves you breathless the other grips you. There aren't many dull moments in this largish book.
The book might have it's faults as far as language and detail goes, but it's the most entertaining fiction I ever read. Unfortunately there comes a point in the story where more effort goes into bulding the climax, and a truly woeful event takes place which will likely lessen the interest of many readers; the last third of it is is drifting along both for the main character and the readers, and while a climax is built properly, in fact there is no proper climax, or it can be read from history books but not this one.
Which is not an entirely bad thing because this book serves as a great introduction to late medieval Japan, more in the sense of arousing interest toward the culture and history rather than being that educational, or necessarily even accurate at points. For anyone who doesn't want to educate themselves about history and exotic cultures, beware - after reading this, the next three books you'll read will be exactly that.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Shogun
I read Shogun twice about 40 and 37 years ago each and was quite appreciative of this book back then
and now. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Harold Watkins
2.0 out of 5 stars 1st time, last time??
The book was advertised as having "light wear, in good condition". True
I would've appreciated a dust cover, or being aware it would come without. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Warren Bates
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, Page-Turning, Masterpiece
I read Shogun within months of arriving in East Asia to work. Having recently graduated college, I finally had time for recreational reading. Read more
Published 12 months ago by SogeumHoochoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Shogun
One of the greatest book of all time. This is the third time I read this book since it came out in 76-77. Everytime is different and better. What a great writer
Published 19 months ago by Michel Pinard
5.0 out of 5 stars TRIUIMPH OF STORYTELLING
This novel of over a 1000 pages is the first in a series of Asian sagas by John Clavell. It was Clavells' first novel, & in my opinion his best. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jerlaw
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTERPIECE THAT POPULARIZED MEDIEVAL JAPAN TO THE WEST!
This is the novel that introduced the Samurai's bushido, daimyos rivalries and the bakufu Shogunate to the average westerner. Read more
Published on March 24 2008 by NeuroSplicer
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTERPIECE THAT POPULARIZED MEDIEVAL JAPAN TO THE WEST!
This is the novel that introduced the Samurai's bushido, daimyos rivalries and the bakufu Shogunate to the average westerner. Read more
Published on March 24 2008 by NeuroSplicer
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTERPIECE THAT POPULARIZED MEDIEVAL JAPAN TO THE WEST!
This is the novel that introduced the Samurai's bushido, daimyos rivalries and the bakufu Shogunate to the average westerner. Read more
Published on March 24 2008 by NeuroSplicer
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTERPIECE THAT POPULARIZED MEDIEVAL JAPAN TO THE WEST!
This is the novel that introduced the Samurai's bushido, daimyos rivalries and the bakufu Shogunate to the average westerner. Read more
Published on March 24 2008 by NeuroSplicer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Conversion of Master Pilot Blackthorne.
I was first attracted to "Shogun"'s world by the TV series. First puzzled, then absorbed, waiting each week for the next step. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Maximiliano F Yofre
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