Autumn Lightning

The Education of an American Samurai
Narrated by: Brian Nishii
Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dave Lowry juxtaposes his singular experience as an adept student of kenjutsu (the art of swordsmanship) under a Japanese teacher in St. Louis with a riveting account of the samurai tradition in Japan. Intertwining tales of the masters with reflections on his own apprenticeship in the samurai's arts, he reveals in their time-honored methods a way of life with profound relevance to modern times.

The result is a fascinating, singular autobiography. Lowry captures the sense of wonder and mystery that makes martial arts compelling to so many practitioners. Even those who do not practice martial arts will delight in this unusual coming-of-age story.

©1985 Dave Lowry (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good as his others.

This book was disappointing. I've read other books by Lowry and they're much better. In this one he attempts to tell the story of his beginnings in Japanese sword arts while interspersing that tale with stories of samurai in old Japan. The question is: why? Why does he not just tell his story? The samurai stories are in no way connected with anything in his story; it's not as if each one mirrors an event in his life. The only thing I can think of is that the publisher didn't think the length of his tale was sufficient, so he was instructed to compose these anecdotes to make the book longer.

Unfortunately, I didn't find the meat of this book to be very entertaining or enlightening. Perhaps if I wasn't interrupted by stories that are difficult to understand even in the best of times due to my unfamiliarity with Japanese names and places I would be more engrossed in Mr. Lowry's story. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book, apart from the wonderful narrator who narrates most of Mr. Lowry's books,

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Inspirational

As a long term practitioner of budo, I found much in this book. The story, the history, and the feeling. Banpen Fugyo! (Be unshaken, no matter what. )

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Some good parts

The story of Dave's experiences as a high school novice trainee of marital arts starts out well, describing his painful attempts to get a master swordsman to tutor him. His description of the rigors of the training is very good; you can feel the pain, the sweat, and the strain. But then he veers off for much of the book into telling the stories of the great swordsmen in the history of Japan from centuries ago. Some of this is interesting, but there's too much of it. It would have been good if he'd used it to enhance his own story, but he leaves his own story behind and gets us lost in many Japanese names and characters which I found hard to keep clear who was who. The performer is quite good at pronouncing the Japanese words and names, giving the reading an authentic flavor.

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Easy listening.

Relaxing, easy listen. Well written, well narrated. interesting mix of personal story and history. Very good.

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Fantastic insight

Great story, well written and well read. The information is unique - at least in the western world. Not many had the opportunity to learn what the author has learned, not only the martial art singularity, but also the background story. Of those who have the knowledge, few share it - why this is such a unique source of information.

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  • DBW487
  • 01-26-16

Excellent

If you could sum up Autumn Lightning in three words, what would they be?

A very well written account of the authors early study of swordsmanship, with some interesting history of the school he was part of. The narrator does an excellent job in telling this story.

What does Brian Nishii bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Nice to hear the correct pronunciation of the Japanese, which adds to the authenticity of the story and characters.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Can understand by the well written account what Dave Lowry went through and some of his ups and downs.

Any additional comments?

Just got the follow on to this, where he author travels to Japan. Can't wait to start it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darren
  • 10-13-16

A remarkable journey

In a way, I am sad that I finished listening to this audio book as it has been accompanying me on my journeys to and from work.

The adventures of the Yagyu family have kept me enthralled and the history of the Shinkage Ryu had me slicing at my own imaginary opponents as I weaved my way through heavy crowds at the train stations that appear on my route to the office.

Thank you, Sensei Dave Lowry (the author) and of course Brian Nishi (the narrator) ... for you have both truly inspired this South African Samurai.