Hello, Sailors

The Mariner’s Mirror, or to give it its fantastic full title, The Mariner’s Mirror, wherein may be discovered his art, craft & mystery after the manner of their use in all ages and all Nations, has just published a glowing review of my Admiral Togo: Nelson of the East. Alessio Patalano, lecturer in War Studies at King’s College London and a specialist in East Asian security issues, really gets the book, noting its concentration on “the multiple applications of naval power, from diplomatic to constabulary and military functions.” This is particularly important in the case of Togo, as there was considerably more to his life than his sudden appearance in 1905 as the hero of the battle of Tsushima. He’d first encountered the British as a teenage samurai, and watched swordsmen standing knee-deep in water on the shores of Kagoshima, angrily brandishing their blades at “retreating” Royal Navy vessels. He’d studied for several years in Victorian England, and been part of dockside politics and naval espionage in China, Korea, and Hawaii before he saw military action against China and Russia. Patalano thinks, rightly, that I have romanticised Togo, but also notes: “This book is a refreshing account of a defining figure of modern Japan. It is well written and deals with themes such as leadership, individual commitment, social transformation and cross-cultural understanding of great contemporary relevance.”

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