Luke RobertsJun 1, 2012
Performing the Great Peace
Political Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan
University of Hawaii Press 2012
Luke Roberts' Performing the Great Peace: Political Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan (University of Hawai'i Press, 2012) is a gracefully-written study of the performance of authority in Tokugawa politics. It is also one of the most thoughtful historical studies that I've had the pleasure to read in a long time. In the course of rereading Tokugawa documents to propose a wonderfully fresh way of thinking about political space in history, Roberts challenges us to rethink our assumptions about how to read evidence of such seemingly basic categories as life and death, truth and secrecy. A boon for scholars of Japan and non-specialists alike, Performing the Great Peace is worth a read for anyone interested in what it means now, and what it has meant across space and time, to understand and write about the past.