Atthesame timeCanadians began to become dimly aware thatNorman hadbeen, inhisday, ascholar ofJapan of truly international standing. Butthemystery andcomplications ofhislife,it was fairtosay,hadnotbeguntoberesolved. Some fiveyears latertheedited proceedings of the conference haveappearedandit isthisworkthatwehavetoconsider here.
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Thereisthe'life,'aspects ofNorman's diplomatic career,andconsideration of hisparticipation in theCommunist party. As isinevitable inacompilation ofpapers, theresult israther spotty: bits and pieces, strong onNorman's adventures withthesecurity apparatus, weak onhisroleasa 'line'Canadian diplomat - thecomponents of abiography rather thanthebiography itself.
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Roger Bowen's essay deserves special notice, however: thoughmarredbya weakconclusion, it comes closest ofanyof the essays inthebooktogiving thereaderacoherent picture ofNorman. The secondpart of the bookconsiders Norman'scareerasan historian. Regrettably, noneof the essays included allows muchinsight to thenonspecialist inthehistory ofJapan,ortothose whohave nothadthebenefit of reading Norman'sseveral works. Several of those worksareincluded in the thirdsection, a collection of four addresses andarticles datingfromthelate forties andearlyfifties- enoughtotantalize, forthereisevidence ofaclear and elegant mindatwork,butnotenough trulytosatisfy.
Theimpression madeby thisbookis,then,incomplete. It mayformthe basis forasecond, longer,andmoredefinitive study; whenthatstudy appears itwillprobably reverttowhatit reallyis,agrouping ofresearch papers, some good, sometrivial,but all tentative,materials ['orusesomewhere else,on another andsatisfying occasion.
Memobx ofaPolitical Voyeur. Buton certainsignificant personalities, issues, andevents onecanfind,particularly in theFloydChalmers volume, some valuable information andinteresting insight. Evenin Charles Lynch's funny butflawed book, thereissome rewarding reading. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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Born in rural Japan the son of a Canadian missionary, Herbert Norman studied at the University of Toronto and went in to Cambridge University on a scholarship. Norman was also a renowned historian of Japan.
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Both this work and his writings on Japan were sympathetic to human freedoms and democracy, and they too became controversial as sides congealed in the Cold War. He was not a spy, the editor concludes, and should be remembered as the hero of a modern tragedy. Save UP TO Herbert Norman's distinguished life and tragic death, in April , are recalled and examined in this book by scholars and diplomats from four countries—the United States, Japan, Canada, and Britain.
Edited by Roger W. Roger W.
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Bowen is currently a senior advisor and former Director of the Council of Independent Colleges. He was also the president of the New Paltz campus of the State University of New York and associate professor of Government at Colby College, Maine, the position he held when writing this book. You are about to donate to the Champlain Society.
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- E. Herbert Norman (Author of Origins of the Modern Japanese State).
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