A Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen: The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun
Tuttle publishing is known for its East Asian books, especially on martial arts and travel. Now it looks like they are getting into popular history books by giving us short books on East Asian countries, and this one is on Japan by Jonathan Clements. While it is not perfect, it gives you the same sense you would get from a couple of semesters of Japanese history. But it sets out what it aims to do: quickly teach you Japanese history from the ancient times to the present, without getting overly complicated or long winded, which history books tend to do. Mr. Clements hits the high notes of Japanese history, covering things fairly quickly, and in a way breaking the book into two. The first half covers ancient Japan, and the second half covers modern Japan. As it is, this is the type of book one would read on the plane while flying to Japan so that they can learn something about the country they are flying to. Young high school students will find it informative as well and not overwhelming. Decent for a brief history book.