A thorough exploration of samurai culture and values and their impact on Japanese history— informative and invigorating,...

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The Courage of a Samurai

SEVEN SWORD-SHARP PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS

A combination moral guidebook and Japanese history resource illustrates the code of samurai warriors, explaining its importance and how it can be incorporated into everyday life.

Third-generation Japanese-American Whaley shares elements of her heritage with the aim of enlightening and inspiring readers to adopt some samurai practices. The debut book highlights the historical significance of the Bushido code among Japanese warriors and, consequently, its effect on Japanese society as a whole. The Bushido code emphasizes the following principles: courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, loyalty, and ganbaru (a Japanese word meaning “to persist”). The book is separated into eight chapters: one dedicated to each concept. Each chapter begins with a thorough description of what the principle meant to Japanese warriors, what it conveys today, and how it can be successfully applied to everyday life. This is followed by stories of Japanese or Japanese-American figures who embodied the principle discussed in that chapter (“Integrity” features the Asian-American politician Daniel K. Inouye, who enlisted in the Army during World War II—receiving several accolades, including the Bronze Star and the Medal of Honor—and served as a U.S. senator from Hawaii). In addition, well-known quotations are inserted throughout the book, when relevant to the particular chapter (for example, “Courage” offers the Japanese proverb “Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that comes to him for refuge”). Whaley’s passion for Japanese culture and heritage is evident in each page, as she includes patient explanations and well-researched details. The stories included in each chapter are the heart of the book. They effectively provide historical background, as well as a reference of how each principle can be upheld to the highest degree. These tales would be just as powerful—or perhaps more so—if presented separate from the motivational aspect of the work. In attempting to accomplish too much, the volume becomes scattered and distracting at times. The introduction of each chapter is reasonable, but is followed by a forceful encouragement for readers to adopt each principle in order to find success in their own lives, which eventually becomes repetitive. Additionally, the inspirational quotations break the flow of the writing, which serves as inspiration enough.

A thorough exploration of samurai culture and values and their impact on Japanese history— informative and invigorating, though laden with heavy-handed motivational mantras.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-938686-82-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Aviva Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2016

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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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