Cover image for Yankees in the land of the gods : Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan
Yankees in the land of the gods : Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan
Wiley, Peter Booth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : N.Y. Viking, 1990.
Physical Description:
xii, 578 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS881.8 .W55 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Wiley chronicles Commodore Matthew Perry's legendary foray into the Japan of the shoguns. When the U.S. naval convoy arrived in Edo Bay in 1863, it was in violation of Japan's inflexible brand of self-imposed isolation. By equating Perry's expedition with nineteenth-century U.S. visions of exploration, expansion, and Manifest Destiny, the author places the diplomatic mission within its proper historical, political, and cultural context. In addition, the author documents Japanese reaction to the U.S. intrusion with recently translated excerpts from the accounts of Japanese negotiators. A memorable portrait of a proud nation poised between the romance of the past and the reality of the future. A highly recommended acquisition in view of the current interest in Japanese-American relations. Notes, bibliography; to be indexed. ~--Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The bold mission led by Matthew Calbraith Perry to the shores of Japan in the mid-19th century is a story of America's entrance into the world community. Wiley makes effective use of source documents, American and Japanese, to present a detailed account of the expedition. Early U.S. naval history, politics and intrigues in Washington and Tokyo, the tense situation in China, the complex relations with European powers, and Perry as seen by himself and others are all here. Students, scholars, and historical buffs will delight in this fascinating study, certain to be the new standard on Perry and Japan. Highly recommended.--Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Before the publication of this book, literature concerning Commodore Perry's gunboat diplomacy mission to the environs of Japan was written, to a large extent from a cultural conflict approach. Although it does not neglect social aspects, Wiley and Korogis' work is primarily a diplomatic history. It is an excellent, easy-to-read story that should appeal to students at all college levels. The authors have used an impressive array of original Japanese and American documents; 14 pages of documentary material are included in the bibliography. The 38 pages of chapter notes also reflect this bibliography. More than 75 illustrations add to this fine study. Strongly recommended as collateral reading for courses in diplomatic history and modern Asian studies as well as those focusing on the development of the US Navy. -B. H. Groene, Southeastern Louisiana University