Yankees in the Lland of the Ggods: 2commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan

Peter Wiley, Author
Peter Wiley, Author Viking Books $24.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-670-81507-4
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Commodore Matthew Perry, a gruff and testy old salt from a Navy family of Quaker stock, set sail for Japan in 1853. Often mistakenly given credit for opening Japan to trade with the U.S., he and his mission had more pressing objectives: to secure ports for a Pacific steamship line linking San Francisco to Shanghai and to prevent America's chief rival, Britain, from monopolizing the China trade. Yet Japan's self-imposed isolation ended a few years later, after unpopular concessions to the ``outer barbarians'' (i.e., Americans) triggered a political crisis that brought the shogunate's downfall and ushered in Japan's modern era. As vivid as a ship's log, as engrossing as a good novel, Wiley's sweeping chronicle casts fresh light on U.S.-Japanese relations, portraying Perry as an interventionist out of step with an America not yet ready to act upon its imperial ambitions. Wiley is coauthor of America's Saints: The Rise of Mormon Power. Illustrations. (Dec.)
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