The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu  

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Title: The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu
Author: Ryotaro Shiba (司馬 遼太郎, SHIBA Ryōtarō)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Kodansha America (August 20, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1568363567
ISBN-13: 978-1568363561
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches

When someone mentioned "The Last", what would come into your mind?
And when someone mentioned the word "Shogun", what would have also come into your mind?

Some of you might have known the title "The Last Samurai", but this review is not about that one. This is about "The Last Shogun".

Now, bringing to you: "The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu", the English translation from Japanese original "Saigo No Shogun".



This book is about the life story of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th and fascinating final successor to the powerful Tokugawa shogunate. The book tells us the story from his birth into the Mito clan, until his ascension to the title of shogun.

The story is well written and narrated by Japan's popular and prolific Shiba Ryotaro, a historical novelist and newspaper reporter, and translated into English by Juliet Winters Carpenter.

There is something that readers will probably notice: it is like reading a Japanese book in English, instead of reading an English book based upon the Japanese one. A reader who knows Japanese language will recognize the style in this historical novel, and Shiba's deep appreciation for Tokugawa Yoshinobu is easy to understand. Shiba took the facts about Tokugawa Yoshinobu's life (1837-1913) and created a book of reality, I mean, history ... that reads like fiction perfectly. I read somewhere, when this book was originally released, it was published as "historical fiction," since it followed a much more narrative style than most history books usually do. But this is indeed a history book!

The Last Shogun is mesmerizingly a good read, and absorbing. This is an awesome exploration towards a well known person throughout Japan's history, a hero who was also a loner. This is not only about the final successor to the powerful Tokugawa shogunate, this is also about his unique characteristic before and after becoming the Shogun, his exploration, his wisdom and way of thinking, and his own life. His way of thinking might be applicable even in the present Japanese politics.

Those who wish to know more about Japanese history and shogun, this book is recommended for you. A book that might trigger most readers to wonder "What if Tokugawa Yoshinobu had ...?" and to even start digging further about Japanese culture.

Absorbing reading. Those who enjoy such historical and political genre, would mostly enjoy reading this historical novel and the narrative exploration. In my humble opinion, the English translation alone is also worth five stars.


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Jerome Becomes A Genius  

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Title: Jerome Becomes A Genius
Author: Eran Katz

After being sick for a while ... man, it's really good to be back again. I missed the book stores and the book shelves. And I recognized what I missed lately. A good book about brain and learning tips. :)

Now I wonder, into which category I should put this book? Let me see ... "self improvement", "health" and "education" are covered by this book, so I will put this book into these three categories. After all, this book talks about learning, memorizing, and the secret of boosting your learning and finally improving yourself.

First thing for us to take note:
This book is not only about learning, this book actually covers a very wide area.

I should say a very complex area: the survival of the learning.
When you read it, you will understand what I mean.


This book starts with Eran Katz - the author himself, a master of memory techniques - he was interested in the myth about Jews and their intelligence. So he invited his friends to join in the discussion and researching, with Jerome Zomer, the colorful student and owner of a small clothing business, became the experiment with a mission: searching for a way to succeed in business and in academics.

So they searched for an answer about how the Jews - the genius people - become the way they are, also about their great strength to survive and succeed in their lives. The topic is to answer whether it is a gift for their only race, heredity, or there is a certain technique behind their success and survival. This book reveals to us about how the author and his friends traced the secrets, from secular discussions until the religious discussions, which are truly interesting to read, and the readers will find the most of the Jewish methods to the success.

Jewish people, no matter what they do, no matter how they are, they are seen as the race, and they are believed to be outstanding and different from the others. Their memory and brains are believed to be one of the best as there are some quite outstanding genius of the world who were born as Jews.
So there is a question: is it truly a gift for the race, heredity, or is there any certain technique? Some see that it may relate to their belief or probably their lifestyle.

In this book, after discussion and discussion, it reveals that the Jews realize their success as well, and that there are really certain techniques among the race to learn in their best way, to memorize something, to remember them in the figure or stories, and how they maintain the information in their brain longer.

Apart from the techniques, the book also reveals other interesting tips. Readers will finally see how exercise and movement indeed have something to do with boosting the way of learning things.

However, above all things, the true secret of the Jewish success and survival, according to the book, is their 'mind'. The book reveals how the Jewish 'belief', or their religion belief, creates the kind of psychological process that finally the individuals can believe only in what is good for Jewish people themselves.

In the conclusion, the secret of the Jews' success is their unlimited faith towards something.

What is it?

Find the answer in the book. :)

Psst! Interesting link: http://www.erankatz.com/47282/Books
Has the book been translated into your language? Got to check your local book store. :) 


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