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Publisher's Summary

This fascinating history tells the story of the people of Japan, from ancient teenage priest-queens to teeming hordes of salarymen, a nation that once sought to conquer China, yet also shut itself away for two centuries in self-imposed seclusion.

First revealed to Westerners in the chronicles of Marco Polo, Japan was a legendary faraway land defended by a fearsome Kamikaze storm and ruled by a divine sovereign. It was the terminus of the Silk Road, the furthest end of the known world, a fertile source of inspiration for European artists, and an enduring symbol of the mysterious East. In recent times, it has become a powerhouse of global industry, a nexus of popular culture, and a harbinger of post-industrial decline.

With intelligence and wit, author Jonathan Clements blends documentary and storytelling styles to connect the past, present, and future of Japan, and in broad yet detailed strokes reveals a country of paradoxes: a modern nation steeped in ancient traditions; a democracy with an emperor as head of state; a famously safe society built on 108 volcanoes resting on the world's most active earthquake zone; a fast-paced urban and technologically advanced country whose land consists predominantly of mountains and forests.

©2017 Jonathan Clements (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about A Brief History of Japan

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A Brief Review of the Book

So this book is good just very short. It tells you in the title (and the hour count) that it's gonna be short but I wish it were longer. The information in this book if they really dug deep into the history could be a 20+ hour long book. I've taken Japanese history classes and this book went over everything I've learned in the classes with just a few tidbits I didn't know beforehand. So if all you're wanting is a 'Brief History' then this book is perfect for you. If you want to learn more afterward there's a youtube channel called Linfamy that has a many episodes long history of Japan series that goes into much greater detail.

10 people found this helpful

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An excellent introduction to the subject.

Well written, and well read, this book serves as an excellent introduction to the subject of Japanese history and culture. I recommend it if you are in a hurry to get some knowledge under your belt, and then begin to dig deeper.

1 person found this helpful

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Well written, well read overview

As usual Johnathan Clemons brings his own personal brand of humor to a subject that could get bogged down in difficult to follow facts and dates. The narrator does a great job of never letting the narrative get too boring to follow.

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  • muttley the dog
  • 01-31-20

excellent overview

W written and keeps the story moving. Narrator irritatingly pronounces Japanese names/words wrongly sometimes.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Justin Hill
  • 05-19-20

does a great job of condensing the story

Really enjoyed this. Brought in new information to the standard histories. Jonathan Clements has a wry sense of humour which perks up the narrative. Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ismael Gutierrez
  • 11-05-20

Succinct as they come, and yet fascinating

Books about the history of a country are often absurdly long and detailed. Let alone when it comes to a country with a rich and convoluted history like Japan. This book, on the contrary, manages to be succinct and yet detailed enough to captivate the reader from the first page to the last.

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  • Stukez
  • 10-17-20

Essential

The deeply researched Mr Clements manages ( again) to make his subject both fascinating and entertaining. Leavened with personal tales and insight his text rattles along, being at once deeply informative and somehow succinct.
His joy of language is hugely contagious and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

1 person found this helpful