Christopher Harding is the author of the widely praised Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, described by Neil MacGregor as 'Masterly. How much I admired it, what a lot I learned from it and, above all, how very much I enjoyed it'. Harding teaches at the University of Edinburgh and frequently broadcasts on Radio 3 and Radio 4.
The people included in this look at the lives of 20 of Japan's most notable characters are not, it's fair to say, household names, but historian and broadcaster Christopher Harding brings them to life with warmth and insight. Together, they offer a great primer to the nation's expansive, dynamic story. * History Revealed, Book of the Month * A fresh and fascinating perspective ... By shifting focus without losing the renowned figures or the sweeping trends but rather leavening them with formerly unsung individuals, Harding is able to say something new about the history of Japan and reinvigorate old stories. As such, this book can act as a primer for the archipelago's long and complex story, or as a refreshing take on familiar periods for those already well-versed in the emperors, shoguns and battlefields. -- Iain Maloney * Japan Times * Splendid ... It's an effective way of telling an unfamiliar story, leavening the course of social change with plenty of enjoyable individual details. -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * Skilled, ambitious, mightily impressive ... Harding turns out to be as adept at describing the country's artistic development as he is at unpicking its brutal politics. Another of his talents is a sharp eye for the telling quote that makes these distant presences tangible ... a marvellous read, full of startling information. -- Waldemar Januszczak * Sunday Times *