The Last Samurai

An American Poem About Japanese Courage

$2.99

After studying WWII's Pacific Theater extensively, Sutton has put his skills to work creating a first-person narrative inspired by Tamaichi Hara, the only Japanese navy ship captain to survive to the end of the war who also was there at its start.

In the story, a fictional Japanese naval officer tells the tale of WWII to an investigator from the War Crimes Tribunal, an American officer he knew before the war.  He reflects on his life leading up to the war, the war itself, and the toll it took on Japan and her people, including the bombing of Hiroshima.  The story is respectful, even quietly admiring, of Japanese culture, and is bolstered by decades of background research.  It references factual events, conversations, and people on the Japanese side of the war that aren't often seen.

And yet, the story is approachable and easy to read.  The sonnet format provides remarkably smooth flow, even for those not versed in poetry; it simply forces each page to pick a topic and pack a punch.  The book takes a somber tone, but is a romantic story, and as such has moments of great highs to match its lows.  There's a lot to love here for the casual reader and history buff alike.

The work follows Sutton's view that peace is better than war, demonstrably so, but bureaucracy and ego can take down even the most storied nations through short-sighted desire for power.  That, and the little guy always loses, despite his best efforts.  Sometimes, though, fate looks out for them….

This book won the Mellon Poetry Prize for “Best Longform Poem in Great Britain and the US” in 1997.

Sold By: James H. Sutton

Description

A Japanese naval officer tells the tale of WWII to an investigator from the War Crimes Tribunal, an American officer he knew before the war.  In war, the little guy always loses, but sometimes, fate looks out for them instead….

Reading level: High School and up

Teachers: This book would be good for instructors of classes in poetry, fiction writing, WWII history, responses to the bombing of Hiroshima, Japanese History, and American literature.

Additional information

Date

1997

ISBN-13

978-0-773-42828-7

Language

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