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The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family
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The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In The Yamato Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave, who divulged the secrets of Mao Tse-tung and the ruthlessness of Chiang Kai-shek in the New York Times bestseller The Soong Dynasty, and his wife and longtime collaborator, Peggy, present the controversial, never-before-told history of the world’s longest-reigning dynasty–the Japanese imperial family–from its nineteenth-century ori ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published August 14th 2001 by Broadway Books (first published October 1st 1999)
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A good read, and better than the previous, similar book I read, Edward Behr's Hirohito: Behind the Myth.

The Seagraves look at the rise of modern Imperial Japan, from the Meiji Restoration through Hirohito's son, Akihito, in the late 1990s.

First, a decade-plus of deflation has only further confirmed their comments in the last chapters: Japanese distrust their business cliques, as much as they distrust anything, and continue to refuse to spend or invest domestically, while different Liberal Democr
I found this to be a pretty explosive account of one of the world's longest-reigning monarchies. The Seagraves chronicle the Yamato dynasty and its monarchs from the Meiji Restoration era in the 1850s to the present day. The imperial family is depicted as figureheads with no power, mere ornaments whose ultimate purpose is to disguise the pervasive corruption and greed that occurs behind the scenes by financiers and big business. (Note: This was originally published in 1999, so it's not very curr ...more
Roger Norman

I previously read Seagrave's Lords of the Rim, which is a great read, and his Soong Dynasty, almost as good, but this one doesn't work. One of the reasons is certainly the collaborative authorship. The two styles are distinctly different and don't match. Plenty of detail is repeated by both authors, as if the editing were hastily done. There's also a sense that some of the more outrageous conclusions are not quite true. I have no evidence for this, it's just a feeling. If the writing is brisk, c
eye opening for those who are new to Japanese history and what went in during world war II, but to much comes from the author's voice for what is meant to be a historical retelling
Dave Allen
A bit repetitive but a fascinating read all the same. I'll see if I can download Gold Warriors next since I am almost certain there are no English bookstores in Beijing who have it.
I had a bit of a problem with how highly editorialized the text was in reference to the descriptions of historical characters and the events. Also, certain phrases and words were repeated too often throughout the book, as if the authors were somehow strangely committed to only using that language. Apart from that, I found it an enlightening read on the modern history of Japan and America's relationship.
I would say this focused less on the imperial family and more on the power around and behind the throne. It was still very interesting and explained Japan's financial system well. Contained a very disturbing account of Japan's WWII looting, and the machinations that led to war criminals going unpunished.
A book covering recent imperial history, from the Meiji Emperor to Akihito and his children. Some of it seems a bit too 'conspiracy theory', but it's still an interesting read since there is very little about the Japanese monarchy in English.
An in-idepth look at Japan's modern imperial family and the power behind the throne (focusing especially on World War II and the events leading up to it and immediately after), it didn't quite have the same enthusiasm as Gold Warriors did.
Sara Norris
Interesting, thought provoking. Somewhat obvious in the authors' attempts to convince us of their point of view, but it did bring up some very interesting tidbits.
Such a fan of the Seagraves-- makes history all the more accessible, especially in a region of the world we rarely get access to.
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