Tocqueville was predicting socialism in America, a new form of oppression that did not exist in his time. He could not name it at the time because the word socialism had not yet appeared in the English language and Karl Marx had not yet published his Communist Manifesto.
America has become a socialist state and this book is about what socialism is doing to America today. Socialism is an oppression that has caused America to discard the rule of law, forsake justice, limit freedom, attenuate individuality, create dependence, degrade social norms, attack sources of wealth, and divide the culture. This form of despotic totalitarianism has irreversibly commenced the destruction of American culture and nation.
Socialism in America offers the reader the perspective of and how and why this is happening. It explains the history of socialism, and in particular the history of socialism in America. It discusses the roles of socialism's foremost vectors, which are primarily the unions and Democratic Party. It critically dissects the philosophy of socialism itself and examines other countries' struggles to survive under the heavy socialist boot. Every freedom-loving American should read this book.
God gave man, unlike the other animals, a little cleverness, which has caused him to jump the tracks. Using this cleverness, man has conceived, created, and implemented incredible unnatural and convoluted ideas, constructs, and systems. These entities are upsetting God's patterns of nature. Man is now doing things God never intended. This has not only made God's plans go haywire but also threatens man himself.
God is in high dudgeon because man's imagination is debauching his perfect world. To make matters worse, man audaciously blames God for a world gone crazy. God has patiently endured man's accusations but now intends to set him straight on the true nature of things and explain how he has screwed things up.
This is God's lecture, and if man has any inkling of what is good for him, he will listen.
Socialism is an oppression that has caused America to discard the rule of law, forsake justice, limit freedom, attenuate individuality, create dependence, degrade social norms, attack sources of wealth, and divide the culture. This form of despotic totalitarianism has irreversibly commenced the destruction of American culture and nation. Socialism in America offers the reader the perspective of how and why this is happening. It explains the history of socialism, and in particular the history of socialism in America. It discusses the roles of socialism's foremost vectors, which are primarily the unions and Democratic Party. It critically dissects the philosophy of socialism itself and examines other countries' struggles to survive under the heavy socialist boot. Every freedom-loving American should read Socialism in America.
Over the past hundred years, Ireland has undergone profound political, social and cultural changes. But one thing that has not changed is the Irish genius for observation and storytelling, invective and self-scrutiny. Ireland: The Autobiography draws upon this genius to create a portrait of a century of Irish life through the words of the people who lived it.
Broadcaster and historian John Bowman has mined archives, diaries and memoirs to create a remarkably varied and delightfully readable mosaic of voices and perspectives. Ireland: The Autobiography is a brilliantly selected, wide-ranging and engrossing take on the last century of Irish life. It gives us a portrait of Ireland unlike anything we've read before.
'Absorbing and illuminating ... John Bowman has selected a range of accounts of Irish life that do justice to what happened, what it felt like, and the personal and societal experiences alongside the "official" version.' Diarmaid Ferriter, Irish Times
'A treasure' Irish Examiner
'A whistle-stop tour of the seismic, seminal and explosive events which shaped the nation as we know it' Irish Independent
'Entertaining and informative' Sunday Business Post
'A remarkably varied and delightfully readable mosaic of voices and perspectives' Women's Way
'A thoughtful and eclectic collection' Irish Mail on Sunday
Some particularly interesting issues discussed in the book include George Berkeley and John Locke's theories on the difference between language and reality (most confusion and much conflict in the world seems to be because we use words for things that do not exist) Immanuel Kant's transcendental idealism and in particular his discussion of antinomies (we are not passive tabula rasas on which the external world writes but rather active minds organizing and making sense of a random and incomprehensible world) Jean Paul Sartre's existential admonition that we must accept the world with no telos (which naturally leads us to the truism that if we wish life to have meaning we must look to ourselves to create it) the question of whether there are certain timeless, objective standards by which we can judge human actions (if we cannot, and ethics is subjective, how do we distinguish between good and evil?) what are the limits to our knowledge (are there certain immutable truths which we can discover which are built like a pyramid with a broad foundation and each layer resting on the one below, or is all knowledge simply how well things cohere like a raft on the open sea floating around with no permanent tether)
Winner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfiction.
An Economist Best Book of 2014.
A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation
From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?
Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.
A first-hand account of China's cultural revolution. Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Mao, was put under house arrest by Red Guards in 1966 and subsequently jailed. All attempts to make her confess to the charges of being a British spy failed; all efforts to indoctrinate her were met by a steadfast and fearless refusal to accept the terms offered by her interrogators. When she was released from prison she was told that her daughter had committed suicide. In fact Meiping had been beaten to death by Maoist revolutionaries.
Harrowing yet hopeful, Loung's powerful story is an unforgettable account of a family shaken and shattered, yet miraculously sustained by courage and love in the face of unspeakable brutality.
In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order.
But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope
of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history.
In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made.
From the Hardcover edition.
No matter where one goes in India, one will find a landscape in which mountains, rivers, forests, and villages are elaborately linked to the stories of the gods and heroes of Indian culture. Every place in this vast landscape has its story, and conversely, every story of Hindu myth and legend has its place. Likewise, these places are inextricably tied to one another—not simply in the past, but in the present—through the local, regional, and transregional practices of pilgrimage.
India: A Sacred Geography tells the story of the pilgrim’s India. In these pages, Diana Eck takes the reader on an extraordinary spiritual journey through the living landscape of this fascinating country –its mountains, rivers, and seacoasts, its ancient and powerful temples and shrines. Seeking to fully understand the sacred places of pilgrimage from the ground up, with their stories, connections and layers of meaning, she acutely examines Hindu religious ideas and narratives and shows how they have been deeply inscribed in the land itself. Ultimately, Eck shows us that from these networks of pilgrimage places, India’s very sense of region and nation has emerged. This is the astonishing and fascinating picture of a land linked for centuries not by the power of kings and governments, but by the footsteps of pilgrims.
India: A Sacred Geography offers a unique perspective on India, both as a complex religious culture and as a nation. Based on her extensive knowledge and her many decades of wide-ranging travel and research, Eck's piercing insights and a sweeping grasp of history ensure that this work will be in demand for many years to come.
After one traumatic year, she came home, a Vietnam veteran. Coming home was nearly as devastating as the time she spent in Asia. Nothing was the same -- including Lynda herself. Viewed by many as a murderer instead of a healer, she felt isolated and angry. The anger turned to depression; like many other Vietnam veterans she suffered from delayed stress syndrome. Working in hospitals brought back chilling scenes of hopelessly wounded soldiers. A marriage ended in divorce. The war that was fought physically halfway around the world had become a personal, internal battle.
Home before Morning is the story of a woman whose courage, stamina, and personal history make this a compelling autobiography. It is also the saga of others who went to war to aid the wounded and came back wounded -- physically and emotionally -- themselves. And, it is the true story of one person's triumphs: her understanding of, and coming to terms with, her destiny.
Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Collapse moves from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.
Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the building of the transcontinental railroad to the celebrity of Jeremy Lin, people of Asian descent have been involved in and affected by the history of America. A New History of Asian America gives twenty-first-century students a clear, comprehensive, and contemporary introduction to this vital history.
Inverting the Pyramid is a pioneering soccer book that chronicles the evolution of soccer tactics and the lives of the itinerant coaching geniuses who have spread their distinctive styles across the globe.
Through Jonathan Wilson's brilliant historical detective work we learn how the South Americans shrugged off the British colonial order to add their own finesse to the game; how the Europeans harnessed individual technique and built it into a team structure; how the game once featured five forwards up front, while now a lone striker is not uncommon.
Inverting the Pyramid provides a definitive understanding of the tactical genius of modern-day Barcelona, for the first time showing how their style of play developed from Dutch “Total Football,” which itself was an evolution of the Scottish passing game invented by Queens Park in the 1870s and taken on by Tottenham Hotspur in the 1930s. Inverting the Pyramid has been called the “Big Daddy” (Zonal Marking) of soccer tactics books; it is essential for any coach, fan, player, or fantasy manager of the beautiful game
The queens of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the world’s first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. Outlandish stories of these powerful queens trickled out of the Empire, shocking the citizens of Europe and and the Islamic world.
After Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, conflicts erupted between his daughters and his daughters-in-law; what began as a war between powerful women soon became a war against women in power as brother turned against sister and son against mother. At the end of this epic struggle, the dynasty of the Mongol queens had seemingly been extinguished forever, as even their names were erased from the historical record.
Two centuries later, one of the most unusual and important warrior queens of history--Queen Mandhuhai--arose to avenge the wrongs, rescue the tattered shreds of the Mongol Empire, and restore order to a shattered world. She led her soldiers through victory after victory. In her thirties she married a seventeen-year-old prince, and she bore eight children in the midst of a career spent fighting the Ming Dynasty of China on one side and a series of Muslim warlords on the other. Her unprecedented success on the battlefield provoked the Chinese into the most frantic and expensive phase of wall building in history. Charging into battle even while pregnant, she fought to reassemble the Mongol Nation of Genghis Khan and to preserve it for her own children to rule in peace.
Despite their mystery and the efforts to erase them from our collective memory, the deeds of these Mongol queens inspired great artists from Chaucer and Milton to Goethe and Puccini. And so their stories live on today. With The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, Jack Weatherford restores the queens’ missing chapter to the annals of history.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this powerful and shocking exposé from the front lines in Helmand province, leading journalist and documentary-maker Ben Anderson (HBO, Panorama, and Dispatches) shows just how bad it has got. Detailing battles that last for days, only to be fought again weeks later, Anderson witnesses IED explosions and sniper fire, amid disturbing incompetence and corruption among the Afghan army and police. Also revealing the daily struggle to win over the long-suffering local population, who often express open support for the Taliban, No Worse Enemy is a heartbreaking insight into the chaos at the heart of the region.
Raising urgent questions about our supposed achievements and the politicians’ desire for a hasty exit, Anderson highlights the vast gulf that exists between what we are told and what is actually happening on the ground. A product of five years’ unrivalled access to UK forces and US Marines, this is the most intimate and horrifying account of the Afghan war ever published.
Using two very different yet remarkable styles of art, Allen Say tells a tale within a tale, transporting readers seamlessly to the Japan of his memories.
There is no story in twentieth-century history more important to understand than Hitler’s rise to power and the collapse of civilization in Nazi Germany. With The Coming of the Third Reich, Richard Evans, one of the world’s most distinguished historians, has written the definitive account for our time. A masterful synthesis of a vast body of scholarly work integrated with important new research and interpretations, Evans’s history restores drama and contingency to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis, even as it shows how ready Germany was by the early 1930s for such a takeover to occur. The Coming of the Third Reich is a masterwork of the historian’s art and the book by which all others on the subject will be judged.
Originally published in a single hardcover book, Volume 2 is now available as an abridged, two-part paperback. Part 1 covers the Tokugawa period to 1868, including texts that address the spread of neo-Confucianism and Buddhism and the initial encounters of Japan and the West. Part 2 begins with the Meiji period and ends at the new millennium, shedding light on such major movements as the Enlightenment, constitutionalism, nationalism, socialism, and feminism, and the impact of the postwar occupation. Commentary by major scholars and comprehensive bibliographies and indexes are included.
Together, these readings map out the development of modern Japanese civilization and illuminate the thought and teachings of its intellectual, political, and religious leaders.
As a lieutenant colonel in the North Korean army, Kim Yong enjoyed unprecedented privilege in a society that closely monitored its citizens. He owned an imported car and drove it freely throughout the country. He also encountered corruption at all levels, whether among party officials or Japanese trade partners, and took note of the illicit benefits that were awarded to some and cruelly denied to others.
When accusations of treason stripped Kim Yong of his position, the loose distinction between those who prosper and those who suffer under Kim Jong-il became painfully clear. Kim Yong was thrown into a world of violence and terror, condemned to camp No. 14 in Hamkyeong province, North Korea's most notorious labor camp. As he worked a constant shift 2,400 feet underground, daylight became Kim's new luxury; as the months wore on, he became intimately acquainted with political prisoners, subhuman camp guards, and an apocalyptic famine that killed millions.
After years of meticulous planning, and with the help of old friends, Kim escaped and came to the United States via China, Mongolia, and South Korea. Presented here for the first time in its entirety, his story not only testifies to the atrocities being committed behind North Korea's wall of silence, but it also illuminates the daily struggle to maintain dignity and integrity in the face of unbelievable odds. Like the work of Solzhenitsyn, this rare portrait tells a story of resilience as it reveals the dark forms of oppression, torture, and ideological terror at work in our world today.
From the conquest of the Mediterranean beginning in the third century BC to the destruction of the Roman Empire at the hands of barbarian invaders some seven centuries later, we discover the most critical episodes in Roman history: the spectacular collapse of the 'free' republic, the birth of the age of the 'Caesars', the violent suppression of the strongest rebellion against Roman power, and the bloody civil war that launched Christianity as a world religion.
At the heart of this account are the dynamic, complex but flawed characters of some of the most powerful rulers in history: men such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these distant, legendary figures, Simon Baker looks beyond the dusty, toga-clad caricatures and explores their real motivations and ambitions, intrigues and rivalries.
The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of Ancient Rome.
Sir Winston Churchill was a soldier, journalist, writer, Nobel Prize winner and, above all, a leader. Conservative then Liberal then Conservative again, his political instincts won him a sustained career at the summit of British government, while his resolve and politics of personality made him broadly regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century.
With his early radicalism, bold decisions regarding the Gold Standard and Iron curtain analysis, Churchill was, for many, a highly controversial figure. For others, he was Britain’s finest Prime Minister. From his career as a young army officer – serving in British India, The Sudan, and the Second Boer War, in which he won fame as a war correspondent – to his later pursuits as a historian, a writer, and an artist, ‘Churchill: History in an Hour’ is the perfect guide to the colorful, long and varied life of a historic titan.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
To the Durants, history is "not merely a warning reminder of man's follies and crimes, but also an encouraging remembrance of generative souls...a spacious country of the mind, wherein a thousand saints, statesmen, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach and carve and sing...."
Designed to accompany the ten-volume set of The Story of Civilization, The Lessons of History is, in its own right, a profound and original work of history and philosophy.
A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book, The Prize. In The Quest, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change and conflict, in a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them.
The Quest tells the inside stories, tackles the tough questions, and reveals surprising insights about coal, electricity, and natural gas. He explains how climate change became a great issue and leads readers through the rebirth of renewable energies, energy independence, and the return of the electric car. Epic in scope and never more timely, The Quest vividly reveals the decisions, technologies, and individuals that are shaping our future.
Lasting six years and a day, the Second World War saw the lives of millions – soldiers and civilians, young and old – changed forever. During the conflict, a thousand people died for each and every hour it lasted. With eighty-one of the world’s nations involved and affected in some way, this was war on a truly global scale.
Offering a wide overview of the major figures, politics and action on all sides, World War Two: History in an Hour provides a concise picture of the world upturned. How the conflicts began, the violence involved and how they affected a century: this is the story of the events that ended over sixty million lives and challenged our understanding of humanity.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
The New History of Korean Civilization explores the existence of a distinctive Korean culture established by the Korean people and separate from its Chinese and Japanese counterparts. Author Chai-Shin Yu, distinguished professor of Korean studies, surveys the history of cultural life in Korea and provides a detailed account of this country’s remarkable heritage.
From the prehistoric age through the rise of the Choson Dynasty and up to the creation of the Republic of Korea, this concise history traces the development of history, politics, philosophy, religion, literature, and art. Chai-Shin Yu shows how Korean culture also played a vital role in the formation of Japanese culture.
Written for the purpose of introducing the roots of Korean culture to Westerners and second-generation Koreans living in the West, The New History of Korean Civilization is a bold addition to the historiography of Korea.
From Caliphs to Green Berets, some of civilization’s toughest warriors are profiled in Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch, including Cyrus the Great, St. Moses the Black, and The Rani of Jhansi, as well as in-depth analyses of how they battled their way to victory.
Featuring original artworks by top graphic artists and comic book illustrators, and Ben Thompson’s signature wry, side-splitting commentary, Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch is the history of badasses, the only way it should be written: covered in blood!
Robinson follows the Special Forces from their first post-Vietnam combat in Panama, El Salvador, Desert Storm, Somalia, and the Balkans to their recent trials and triumphs in Afghanistan and Iraq. She witnessed their secret sleuthing and unsung successes in southern Iraq, and recounts here for the first time the dramatic firefights of the western desert. Her blow-by-blow story of the attack on Ansar al-Islam's international terrorist training camp has never been told before.
The most comprehensive account ever of the modern-day Special Forces in action, Masters of Chaos is filled with riveting, intimate detail in the words of a close-knit band of soldiers who have done it all.
Some of the most memorable episodes and figures in Chinese literature appear within its pages, and Three Kingdoms has had a profound influence on personal, social, and political behavior, even language usage, in the daily life of people in China today. The novel has inspired countless works of theater and art, and, more recently, has been the source for movies and a television series. Long popular in other countries of East Asia, such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, Three Kingdoms has also been introduced to younger generations around the globe through a series of extremely popular computer games. This study helps create a better understanding of the work’s unique place in Chinese culture.
This book reassesses the causes and dynamics of the 1975-92 diaspora. It begins with a discussion of Vietnam from 1939 to 1954, then looks closely at the 1954 "Operation Exodus" and the subsequent resettlements. From here the focus turns to the later events that drove hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee their homeland in 1975 and the years that followed. Planning for escape, choosing routes, facing pirates at sea, and surviving the refugee camps are among the many topics covered. Stories of individual escapees are provided throughout. The book closes with a look at the struggles and achievements of the resettled Vietnamese.
Britain has invaded Afghanistan twice before in the nineteenth century. Both times tenacious Afghan fighters defended their country to humiliating British defeats. The Soviet Union also discovered what a tough enemy the Afghans are after nearly a decade of conflict from 1979 to 1989. When not fighting foreign invaders, Afghanistan was torn apart by Civil War from 1990 to 1996, resulting in victory for the Taliban.
The Afghan Wars in an Hour is an excellent way to learn all about the complex wars that have been fought in Afghanistan for almost four decades. It explains who the Taliban and the Mujahedeen are and how their politics work. It explores why Osama Bin Laden was so significant, and helps us understand why, still, it is so hard to achieve peace Afghanistan.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
Chen is one of the most important intellectuals working in East Asia today; his writing has been influential in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China for the past fifteen years. As a founding member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and its journal, he has helped to initiate change in the dynamics and intellectual orientation of the region, building a network that has facilitated inter-Asian connections. Asia as Method encapsulates Chen’s vision and activities within the increasingly “inter-referencing” East Asian intellectual community and charts necessary new directions for cultural studies.
Combing through popular fiction, law codes, religious works, medical treatises, biographical material, and artistic treatments, Leupp traces the origins of pre-Tokugawa homosexual traditions among monks and samurai, then describes the emergence of homosexual practices among commoners in Tokugawa cities. He argues that it was "nurture" rather than "nature" that accounted for such conspicuous male/male sexuality and that bisexuality was more prevalent than homosexuality. Detailed, thorough, and very readable, this study is the first in English or Japanese to address so comprehensively one of the most complex and intriguing aspects of Japanese history.