PROFESSOR RISLEY AND THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE TROUPE: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan — and Japan to the West, by Frederik L. Schodt. Stone Bridge Press, 2012, 336 pp., $35 (hardcover)

When a storyteller wields a scholar’s pen, history truly comes alive. When that history crosses the world and records the collision of cultures, the story becomes more than history — it becomes informed social and cultural commentary, illuminating a sliver of time.

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