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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Friday, 4 December 2015

"Samurai William" by Giles Milton

Giles Milton also wrote The Riddle and the Knight, an interesting account of the life and legend of Sir John Mandeville, and the brilliant Nathanael's Nutmeg, an account of the war between the English and the Dutch which is briefly touched upon in this book and whose consequences touched upon New York. He writes incredibly readable books.

My first introduction to Anjin William Adams came from the novel Shogun by James Clavell, a fictionalised version of his life. He was a fascinating character: a Jacobean mariner who travelled through the Straits of Magellan to reach Japan and who then stayed on as friend, advisor and confidante of the Japanese warlord who became Shogun after the capture of Osaka Castle.

Unfortunately, Milton does not have sufficient material about Adams to make a full length book, so he prefaces the main story with an account of early western exploration of Japan and follows the main story of Adams with a detained account of the trials and tribulations of the trading post set up by the English East India company in Japan. Nevertheless, even though the book isn't exactly what it says on the tin, the stories it tells are fascinating; the only thing that I didn't understand was why the Japanese put up with smelly, drunk, avaricious, lecherous, western sailors for as long as they did.

An interesting and readable account of a great historical character.

December 2015; 371 pages

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