This history of Japanese samurai and its philosophy and military ideas is covered in Samurai, a fine title that is packed with over two hundred color photos and illustrations of Samurai weapons and armor. This reference is a 'must' for any who want to study the weaponry and sentiments of samurai: the history is impressive and the ideas and photos unparalleled.
On a first encounter with "Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior," I was so distracted by the vast number of mispelled Japanese names that I made it no further than the fifth page and quickly consigned the book to a remote shelf. For a second encounter, I approached Clive Sinclaire's book determined to overlook both the spelling issues and the relatively weak and inappropriately sentimental first chapter that outlines a history of the Japanese warrior. This time, I jumped straight to chapter two and concentrated instead on the book's strengths.
And these strengths are notable. As most customer reviewers have here noted, the book provides outstanding introductory material on various classes of Japanese weapons as well as traditional armor. A combination of photographed artifacts, annotated line drawings, and excellent captions make learning from this book particularly easy. Edo-period woodblock prints, moreover, are used to good effect in showing the weapons as they were used in premodern times. Needless to say, the primary appeal of Sinclaire's book will be to that large body of people who enthusiastically study Japanese martial arts and military history. However, "Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior" also merits a place on the bookshelf of anyone generally interested in Japanese culture or more specifically tasked, for example, with decoding the military activities depicted in Japanese art.