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A character in J. M. Coetzee’s “Summertime” states, “Of course we are all fictioneers. I do not deny that. But which would you rather have: a set of independent reports from a range of independent perspectives, from which you can then try to synthesize a whole; or the massive, unitary self-projection comprised by his oeuvre?”

Michael Gardiner proves himself an exemplary biographer and historian, adding narrative panache and drive to his wealth of perceptive research. This is the story of a Scotsman who had a major influence on the course of modern Japanese history. Thomas Blake Glover became intrinsically involved in the revolutionary changes that resulted in the end of the Tokugawa shoguns and the restoration of the emperor in 1868.

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