Alain Silver's The Samurai Film (1977 revised in 2006) has a lot of insight into the genre. It seems that Silver has written several books on film including many on film noir. Part One begins with The Introduction which discusses samurai in a historical context and is followed by Chapter One: "The Samurai in Fiction." He then devotes a whole chapter to Akira Kurosawa (rightly so in my opinion). Chapter Three is called "Genre Types" and is devoted to Daisuke Ito's film The Ambitious(which I have yet to see) as well as two classics directed by Masaki Kobayaski:Hara-Kiri and Rebellion. Chapter Four, "The Alien Hero," has three sections of which the first two, "The Blind Swordfighters: Zato Ichi and the Crimson Bat" and "Kyoshiro Nemuri, 'Son of the Black Mass,'" are new to me. However, I have seen the third section focusing on the film trilogy of "Miyamoto Musashi." Silver venerates director Hideo Gosha enough to give him his own chapter as well. Chapter Six, "The Slayers" looks at directors Kihachi Okamoto and Masahiro Shinoda and "The Red Slayers." Chapter Seven "The Evolution of the Genre" has three sections: "Violence, East and West: The Last Samurai," "Style and Political Statement," and "The Samurai at the Millennium." Part Two is comprised of: filmography, video distributors, VHS/DVD rental outlets, bibliography, glossary, notes, and index. There is a lot of good information here and some interesting discussions of the genre and films. If there's one drawback, it would be the lengthy plot summaries that are sometimes difficult to follow. Silver is more compelling when making observations about directors he admires like Gosha-which inspires me to seek out more of his films since I have only seen Sword of the Beast, which I quite enjoyed.