Parents' Guide to

Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun

By S. K. List, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

A vivid picture of Perry's historic mission.

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Rhoda Blumberg's lucid writing, immediate in tone and easily accessible to bright youngsters, springs from deep knowledge and research. Had they landed on another planet in 1853, Americans could scarcely have encountered a culture more alien to their own than that of 19th century feudal Japan. Blumberg brings this strangeness to life, spelled out in such details as banquet menus, table manners, and jarringly different social customs. Blumberg has produced a thorough treatment of a little-known but pivotal event in world history.

Unfortunately, the grace of her approach is undermined by the book's poor picture quality. Although the pictures are well chosen and fascinating, they often are poorly reproduced. Even so, beguiled by tales of samurais excitedly riding a toy railroad bestowed by the Americans, of Dutchmen made to jump and dance to amuse the shogun's court, of the Japanese fashion for black-painted teeth, young history hounds will eagerly gobble up this excellent account.

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