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Publisher's Summary

Living and dying with bravery and honor is at the heart of Hagakure, a series of texts written by an 18th-century samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It is a window into the samurai mind, illuminating the concept of bushido (the Way of the Warrior), which dictated how samurai were expected to behave, conduct themselves, live, and die. While Hagakure was for many years a secret text known only to the warrior vassals of the Nabeshima clan to which the author belonged, it later came to be recognized as a classic exposition of samurai thought. The original Hagakure consists of over 1,300 short texts that Tsunetomo dictated to a younger samurai over a seven-year period. William Scott Wilson has selected and translated here 300 of the most representative of those texts to create an accessible distillation of this guide for samurai. No other translator has so thoroughly and eruditely rendered this text into English.
For this edition, Wilson has added a new introduction that casts Hagakure in a different light than ever before. Tsunetomo refers to bushido as "the Way of death", a description that has held a morbid fascination for readers over the years. But in Tsunetomo's time, bushido was a nuanced concept that related heavily to the Zen concept of muga, the "death" of the ego. Wilson's revised introduction gives the historical and philosophical background for that more metaphorical reading of Hagakure, and through this lens, the classic takes on a fresh and nuanced appeal.
©1979, 2002, 2012 English translation by William Scott Wilson. Introduction by William Scott Wilson (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By WildKarrde on 07-10-17

Great Way to Experience the Book Again

I really enjoyed this audible, but I think it's important to note, I've read the book in paper form several times. I have paused to meditate on passages and contemplated the words in depth. Since I have such an ingrained understanding of the book already, this was an enjoyable refresher course for me.

But first time readers should definitely read the words from a book or e-reader screen. Many concepts and understandings in this book are not easy to grasp at first, especially if you are not familiar with ancient Japanese culture going into it. You will need to meditate on the meaning of many passages, and at times look up words in the dictionary to get their full meaning.

You will want to stop the book to further explore topics brought up in it, and audio form is not ideal for any of this. This book is not a novel, it's not a story, it has virtually no cohesiveness. It's like listening to your great, great grandfather jump from topic to topic when talking about World War II. The book has no true beginning or end. You can open it to any page and not feel any more or less lost than you would reading it in order from cover to cover.

Based on what this book is, how it is written, and how it is composed, I believe that audio is not the ideal format for it. But if you have read the book already, it is an excellent way to review the content inside.

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85 of 92 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By There, they're, their... on 04-13-15

Great narrator!

I feel like this book is only good if you are already interested in feudal Japan. I enjoyed it though. Not really a story as much as a collection of thoughts. The narrator did a great job and was recorded well which definitely helps.

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28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tyler on 10-03-16

Samurai

Thought provoking and enlightening read. Well translated and interpreted. Definitely recommend for anybody with an open mind!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Forever hopefull on 11-28-17

well read samurai classic

This is a classic samurai text and the narrator's reading of it was very good.

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