Wednesday, 29 August 2012

FACTUAL REVIEW: Ninja: 1000 years of the Shadow Warrior - John Man

Release Date: 02/08/12

The Ninjas today are the stuff of myth and legend in comics, film and electronic games. But once they were real, the medieval equivalent of the SAS: spies, saboteurs, assassins. In their secrecy, undercover skills and determination to survive, they were the opposite of the overt, self-destructive samurai. Could they fly? Make themselves invisible? Of course not.It was just that their skills gave them a magical aura. As a result, martial artists and story-tellers have turned them into fantasy creatures, from James Bond to Mutant Turtles. In Ninja John Man goes in search of the truth. In a journey to the heartland of the ninjas, he takes us from their origins over 1,000 years ago, through their heyday in the civil wars that ended with Japan's unification in 1600. But that was not the end of the ninja ethos. That re-emerged in World War Two as a little-known counterpart to Japanese militarism. Ninja ways live on in the real 'last of the ninjas', Hiroo Onoda, who held out in the Philippine jungle for 30 years. From feudal Japan to 21st Century Hollywood, John Man's epic story reveals the reality behind one of the world's most enduring legends.


If there’s one factual author out there that for me does not only cracking research but brings the subject matter to the reader in a friendly and accessible way, then that author is John Man. Here in his latest outing he delves into the myths and legends of perhaps one of the most fantastical sects to ever walk the earth, especially when you look at the myths that still ride high in today’s films and fiction.

Within the title he explores the truth, brings it together with stories to help back up the viewpoints and adds another layer with a realistic bent to the often misaligned warriors. It’s addictive reading and when rediscovered through modern eyes brings the whole thing vividly to life as you see the acorn from which the great oak sprang from ancient times right up to the second world war.

All in a cracking read and one that I’ll be dipping into time and again. Great stuff and if you’re an author a wonderful research material that will have you brimming with idea’s time and again.

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