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Download Taiko : A Novel epub

by Eiji. Yoshikawa

a novel
Download Taiko : A Novel epub
ISBN: 4477015704
ISBN13: 978-4477015705
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Eiji. Yoshikawa
Publisher: Kodansha America,, New York:; First Edition edition (1992)
ePUB size: 1551 kb
FB2 size: 1258 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 228
Other Formats: mobi txt lit rtf

This was one of the very best historical novels I've ever read. What a great read! I've read Shogun, Musashi, Samurai Rising and other great books on the subject of Japan and her rich history, and this was among the best. I enjoyed every single page and found myself doing google searches of the various characters and locations mentioned throughout the book. I've never had a particular desire to visit Japan prior to reading this book, but about halfway through I found myself wanting to go and visit the various places mentioned by the author. I highly recommend this book!
This is one of the most interesting, "informative" (in the general way of historical novels are - in the larger details) that I have ever read. Yoshikawa Eiji (Eiji Yoshikawa in the Western order) is one of the top tier of Japanese "Jidaigeki" (Historical / Samurai) writers of the 20th century. This is a very good translation of the Japanese "Taiko-ki" (The Chronicles of the Taiko) by William Scott Wilson. It is only a portion of the original. Many famous scenes are missing. Since the original novel was published in 8 volumes, you would probably require three volumes in English of the size of this book to tell the story of Hedeyoshi's rise to power from a peasant to Nobunaga's amusing servant, "Monkey (Saru)," who runs alongside his master on horseback, willing to do whatever it takes to please him. He rises from being a kind of pet, stage by stage, to be one of Nobunaga's most trusted generals. He always does whatever it takes to please his master, things that others cannot accomplish, and to take any risk. He finds a way to accomplish his task. Nobunaga finds in Hideyoshi an absolutely loyal, selfless servant, and masterful general. And when Nobunaga is assassinated, Hideyoshi immediately moves to take power and execute the traitor Mitsuhide. He takes power for himself, subdues the nation, and become the Taiko, the most powerful man in Japan, the shadow leader behind the figurehead Emperor and the figurehead Shogun. This novel covers Hideyoshi's rise to power, to the point where the crafty Tokugawa Ieyasu bows to the the realities and decides to bide his time and pledges loyalty to Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi's story has three parts. This story, the story of Hideyoshi as a leader and increasingly as tyrant, and his insane attempts to conquer China by going through Korea---two massive failures, but undoubtedly a factor in the Japanese moves into China in the 20th century. The third story is his last years, and pathetic attempt to get his generals to promise to support his child son. It is at this point that Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the southern supporters of Hideyoshi at Sekigahara, and becomes the true Shougun. This book does not tell the later two stories.

Five stars. I couldn't put it down.
Not quite as good as his other epic novel, "Musashi", which I've read 3 times and still find it a great read. This one moves along too slowly, and the characters have a way of changing their names so its hard to keep track of who is who, especially with Japanese names. It takes a bit of reading to get into the story, which gets better as one moves along. It is also epic in length so expect to stay with it a long time.
I've been aware of the Sengoku period of Japanese history for a long time, but mainly through games and film. The few short histories I've read of the period failed to give an impression of what it was really all about, and what it might have been like to have been caught up in the middle of it. This book succeeds at that.

I can't speak to the overall accuracy of the historical picture it presents, but it is a very vivid one. By following the life of Hideyoshi we get a look at many different levels of Japanese society, from that of a peasant farmer up to the warlords striving to unify Japan. The result was entertaining and enlightening.

The only caution I would have is that the huge cast of characters with Japanese names can require a bit of effort to keep track of, especially when some of them even change their name over the course of the story, but it's worth the effort to do so.
A "Michener-esque" tale that reveals the character behind the legends of Nobunaga, Tokugawa and Toyotomi. Fine historical detail wrapped in a yummy package of characters, causes and conditions. The reader must enjoy detail and pay attention to the continual cascade of characters with dizzying Japanese names. Hang in there! It's worth the ride.
This story follows the life of the second great unified of Japan. Toyotomi Hideyoshi story is rags to riches on a grand scale, which is all and more than what modern politicians claim to be. The novel takes many liberties when it comes to conversations and motivations of the books massive cast of characters. Also most likely glorifies the outcomes of Hideoyoshi's actions to the much familiar tune of other historical politicians. However one of this distracts from the magnitude of the protagonists achievements.
A good long story for anyone interested in the history of the samurai in their heyday.
Written in a simple, straight foward, and distinctly Japanese style, Taiko tells the story of Hideyoshi in the manner of a wise, old storyteller. The author inserts bits of wisdom throughout the book, as might a kindly grandfather relating the tale to his grandchildren. The occasional, unashamedly chauvinistic comments which are definitely not politically correct today, do however, reflect the thinking of the times and lend an air of credibility to the story. I do not know how accurately the novel reflects history, but it is certainly detailed, but never boring. It also provides insight into how complex the Japanese feudal system could be and how various clan leaders were faced with splits in their loyalty to their clans and family and fealty to their lords. Taiko is an educational and entertaining read, which I highly recommend.