This interested book covers the elite foot and horse guards who served among the command teams of the samurai leaders, serving as organisers and bodyguards to the lords within their flagged encampments hence the name Hatamoto meaning under the flag.
Written by Dr Stephen Turnbull the leading western expert on the samurai the book presents refreshingly new information rather than being a rehash of many previous books written this period by Turnbull. The book is enjoyable but covers a large and politically diverse period and it is bets that the reader has a reasonable knowledge of the history of Japan in this period to put events into context.
The book at times jumps around a bit within the period so can be a little disjointed but despite this it is an excellent read and the tales of heroism and loyalty of the Hatamoto in the later half of the book are fascinating. As usual it is lavishly illustrated by the excellent Richard Hook who is one of Osprey’s best illustrators; one word of caution if you are a wargammer and expect lists of order of battle or organisational charts then you will be disappointed.
Those beneath the Flag
Horse Guards; organisation and roles
Foot Guards; organisation and roles
Hatamoto in action