Publisher description for The last samurai : the life and battles of Saigo Takamori / Mark Ravina.


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Counter The first book in English in 50 years on a revered samurai warrior-the Japanese Robert E. Lee One of Japan's most renowned samurai, Saigo Takamori (1828-1877) helped pull down the Tokugawa Shogunate and restore the Meiji emperor. He then watched in horror as Meiji, in his drive to modernize the country, stripped the samurai of all that made them samurai-the representatives of Japanese tradition, honor, and glory, if also feudal privilege. The Last Samurai takes a revealing look at Saigo, who is as compelling a character to the Japanese as Robert E. Lee is to Americans-a great and noble warrior who followed the dictates of honor and loyalty, even though it meant civil war in a country he'd devoted himself to. In this dramatic story of politics and rebellion, Mark Ravina follows Saigo as he leads an army of samurai partisans toward Tokyo to fight the imperial conscript army. He examines in gripping detail the clash between Saigo's samurai ideals and impending Japanese modernity-and the reasons why Saigo has been revered for his courage and integrity until the present day. Mark Ravina (Atlanta, GA) is an Associate Professor of Japanese History at Emory University.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Saigåo, Takamori, 1828-1877, Statesmen Japan Biography, Japan History Restoration, 1853-1870