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Haynes takes on the Samurai Warrior Operations Manual

3rd June 219
Chris McNab
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019


3rd June 2019: The striking image of the samurai has long been depicted in artwork and films, but what were these warriors really like and how did they live? A new manual from Haynes, The Samurai Warrior Operations Manual, provides a unique insight into this warrior ruling class, and describes in detail their days of glory, their decline, and their continuing position in Japanese history as romantic and heroic figures. 

Emerging into history in the 8th Century, the samurai evolved to become an aristocratic warrior elite that dominated Japanese warfare and society until the 1600s. 

The author – historian and military expert, Chris McNab – takes readers on a fascinating journey into the heart of samurai history, culture and warfare, from recruitment, etiquette and religious beliefs through to training, weapons and battlefield tactics.  It also touches on mindfulness, which was which was a key part of samurai spirituality in the form of meditation and a focus on living in the moment.

This lavishly illustrated manual looks in detail at the ethos and beliefs of the samurai warriors, who stressed the importance of living by codes of loyalty, self-discipline and honour.  It also reveals how the samurai fought, as individuals and as part of an army, and examines their role in Japanese society. It highlights the practicalities of life on campaign, from command and control systems, logistics, health and hygiene and gives details on the castles they lived in, their religious beliefs and how they spent their leisure time.   

Talking about the manual, Chris commented: “This book sheds light on the fascinating world of the revered and feared samurai warrior.  They were renowned not only for their skills at arms, first with the bow then with the sword, but also for their adherence to strict martial and personal codes. As much as they were brutal, merciless, and skilled in battle, they were actually defined by ritual, etiquette and education. The book details key weapons such as the samurai sword, the yumi (bow), yari (spear), naginata (pole arm), matchlocks and more, along with a description of their physical characteristics and associated fighting techniques. 

“I wanted to write a book that clearly explained the core principles of samurai philosophy, and as such this manual clearly illustrates both the theory and the reality of ‘the way of the sword’, including the practice of seppuku – ritual suicide.  It also delves into the evolution and elements of samurai battlefield armour, clearly explaining each of the component parts with accompanying close-up imagery to highlight intricate details.” 

The Samurai Warrior Operations Manual draws on recently published primary source material, and is a must read for anyone wanting to discover more about the ‘way of the samurai’.


Title details

The Samurai Warrior Operations Manual is priced at £22.99 in the UK and available from The book number is H6562. The ISBN is 9781785215629. It is published in June 2019.


Author details

Chris McNab is a historian, author and editor specializing in military and historical topics.  Over his 20-year career, Chris has written more than 100 books, including several titles for Haynes Publishing, such as RAF Chinook, Kübelwagen/Schwimmwagen, Siege Warfare, Napoleon’s Military Machine and Flak 88. Chris has also made appearances as an expert commentator on TV documentaries for Sky, Discovery and History Channels, and regularly participates in media discussions about military matters. 

The author is available for interview – contact:



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Lynsey Wickens or 0117 921 8131 or

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Haynes Publishing has been the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car manuals and motorcycle manuals since 1965. In that time Haynes has evolved and so have its Manuals to now include a wide range of automotive, sport, leisure, military and lifestyle subjects. Haynes also has licenses to publish Manuals with the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Star Wars, Star Trek and others. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: