Samurai William by Giles Milton
The Englishman Who Opened Japan

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An eye-opening account of the first encounter between England and Japan, by the acclaimed author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg

In 1611, the merchants of London's East India Company received a mysterious letter from Japan, written several years previously by a marooned English mariner named William Adams. Foreigners had been denied access to Japan for centuries, yet Adams had been living in this unknown land for years. He had risen to the highest levels in the ruling shogun's court, taken a Japanese name, and was now offering his services as adviser and interpreter.

Seven adventurers were sent to Japan with orders to find and befriend Adams, in the belief that he held the key to exploiting the opulent riches of this forbidden land. Their arrival was to prove a momentous event in the history of Japan and the shogun suddenly found himself facing a stark choice: to expel the foreigners and continue with his policy of isolation, or to open his country to the world. For more than a decade the English, helped by Adams, were to attempt trade with the shogun, but confounded by a culture so different from their own, and hounded by scheming Jesuit monks and fearsome Dutch assassins, they found themselves in a desperate battle for their lives.

Samurai William is the fascinating story of a clash of two cultures, and of the enormous impact one Westerner had on the opening of the East.


About Giles Milton

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Giles Milton is the author of three books, including a history of the seventeenth-century spice wars in the Dutch East Indies, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg.
Published May 16, 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Following the success of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Milton focuses on the exploits of another undiscovered historical personage to center a more expansive story.

| Read Full Review of Samurai William: The Englishm...

Adams and his crew were not the first Westerners to reach the Japanese coast Portuguese missionaries had begun to trickle in more than half a century before but they would be the most influential during Japan's brief dalliance with the West.Forbidden to return to his native Britain, Adams made th...

Feb 28 2018 | Read Full Review of Samurai William: The Englishm...

The Well-Read Man

The 50 Books, Africa, Alan Paton, Apartheid, book reviews, Cry the Beloved Country.

Dec 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Samurai William: The Englishm...

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