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absolutely love this book. it's certainly quite long, but I never felt any difficulty in finishing it, because it's truly thrilling to listen to! I certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for something to occupy them for a long time. if you get bored then we might not be listening to the same book!
the narrator is also great, even if his women are very silly sounding. he has distinct accents and voices for each character, and astoundingly, did not seem to get them mixed up even once in over 50 hours. kudos to him!
25 of 25 people found this review helpful
I first read Shogun about one year after it was originally released, in 1975. I was studying karate at the time (and for many years thereafter) and wanted to know as much as I could about Bushido. Bushidō (武士道?), literally "the way of the warrior", or the way of the samurai. I was taught much about the way of the combatant in the book, but that was merely a setting for the real voyage that the story takes you upon. The book was a constant weighing between cultures – Western European versus Japanese. The complexity of the story’s plot was there merely to present each culture’s élan or perhaps moral underpinnings. The purpose was to give you the reader the opportunity to determine who were the barbarians. The Westerners or the Japanese of the 1600s. I’ll give you a hint as to the author’s conclusion – one society bathed constantly the other – well perhaps never at all. The book does manage ones considerations of who was the beast very well.
The tale itself is about competition between two daimyos or Lords, and each’s competitive efforts to rise to the Shogunate; the all-powerful Lord who would be “effectively” the king but for the existence of the emperor. The emperor though, is only a god on earth to be provided for by the Shogunate. The story is seen through the eyes of an English sailor John Blackthorne, (sailing on behalf of the Dutch) who, after wrecking into the Japanese islands unintentionally takes on Japanese ways and name of Anjin ( a seafaring navigator or"Pilot"). The Anjin becomes Japanese, but not by intent – merely by the drift of life. One of the Lords, Torenaga, manages the Anjin as an asset in the scheming and strategizing to move society in favor of his goal to be the Shogun. Watching Torenaga scheme is the most wonderful part of the book. Of course, there is a grand love affair to assist the Anjin-san in his drift into the Japanese way. The book is enchanting and a wonderful read or listen to and well worth one’s time but – but – but for the reader, Ralph Lister. Mr. Lister reads the story very well. I do not understand though when speaking on behalf of the Anjin-san, he finds it necessary to change to a loud boisterous ignorant rage. He has the Ajin speaking stupidly throughout. I read the book in the 1970s thinking of all in soft consideration. The story was much better that way. Yet, this is still a very worthwhile endeavor. In fact, everything James Clavell wrote was magnificent as a story and study of Oriental beings and their ways. Glad to see Audible is going to finally have his works in its library.
63 of 68 people found this review helpful