John Man is a historian and writer with special interests in Central Asia and the history of written communication. He likes to combine history with travel to the places he writes about. He studied German and French at Keble College, Oxford, before doing two postgraduate courses, a diploma in the History and Philosophy of Science at Oxford and Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
After working in journalism and publishing, he turned to writing, with occasional forays into film, TV and radio. In the 1990s, he began a trilogy on the three major revolutions in writing: writing itself, the alphabet and printing with movable type. Recently, he has turned to Japan. The Last Samurai, the story of Saigo Takamori's doomed 1877 rebellion against the Japanese emperor, took him in Saigo's footsteps across Kyushu. For Ninja, published in July 2012, he went in search of the ninjas' historical roots - and found a theme that has run through Japanese history for 1,000 years, far removed from the ninjas of modern fable.