Katana, The Sword of the Samurai, Stephen Turnbull

Katana, The Sword of the Samurai, Stephen Turnbull


This book addresses one of the most famous weapons in history as part of a new Osprey series on famous weapons. The Katana or samurai sword has long been a subject of fascination by both martial art and weapons enthusiasts as well as subject to much glamour by film makers. Written by the leading western expert on medieval Japan, Dr Stephen Turnbull, this is a well written and interesting book.  Turnbull challenges the misconception of the Katana as the Samurais primary weapon while not belittling its huge social impact. The book is filled with colour illustrations, photographs and plates and also with colourful descriptions of the famous Japanese sword masters and their exploits.

Chapters include

Tracing the history and evolution of the weapon and exploring some of the debates about its origins and development. Includes a fascinating discussion of the different types of steel used in the forging of these weapons

Looking at how the weapon was used and its impact on the battlefield, its use in duels and the role of the various schools and the sword masters who created them. This I found particularly interesting especially in the attitude of some of the most famous Japanese warlords to these wandering sword teachers.

Here Turnbull looks at the social impact of this icon weapon and touches briefly on the rebellions which marked the end of the samurai era and saw the last real use of the weapon in combat.

In all an excellent book and a must for the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the samurai.

Author: Stephen Turnbull
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 80
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2010

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