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‘Ninja’ by John Man

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British historian John Man is the author of “Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection,” “Attila: The Barbarian King Who Challenged Rome,” and “Kublai Khan.” In “Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior” (Morrow), he explores the history of these legendary masters of stealth warfare. Pop-culture caricatures of ninjas have taken on lives of their own, but the history behind them is rather extraordinary. Peasants perfected their martial skills and powers of deception to become fierce warriors. Who is the “last of the ninjas”? Man suggests that it is Onoda Hiroo, a Japanese intelligence officer who fought in the Philippines during World War II and remained a holdout there for almost 30 years. JAN GARDNER

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