Time to Become Barbarian

Time to Become Barbarian The Extraordinary Life of General Horace Capron Harold S. Russell

America's rise to power in the nineteenth century was the result of the efforts of many gifted men and women. This book chronicles the achievements of one of these, Horace Capron, who at age sixty-seven agreed to travel to Japan as an advisor to the government on the development of the large northern island of Hokkaido. Russell traces Capron through the early years of the nineteenth century to his marriage into the influential Snowden family and his building of the town of Laurel, Maryland, where he made and lost a fortune in cotton milling and farming. Commanding a cavalry regiment in the Civil War brought him the rank of General and led to his appointment as the second commissioner of agriculture under Presidents Johnson and Grant. Recruited by the Japanese government for his expertise in agriculture and military affairs, Capron resigned his position in the spring of 1871, bid farewell to his family and friends and traveled to Japan where he was received with full honors by Emperor Meiji. During his four years in Japan, Capron endured fierce criticism by the British and American press. Infighting among the members of his mission, and with the Japanese who supervised them, made the effort difficult and controversial. Capron returned to the United States in 1875 a largely forgotten man, even after receiving the highest award ever given to a foreigner by the emperor. It took a half a century for him to be rediscovered and elevated to a place of honor in Japan.

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University Press of America
284 pp.

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