This book does an excellent job outlining and giving a reasonable study to several periods in Japanese history as well as into the early 2000 modern history. It is divided into four time periods: Late Feudal Period under the Tokugawa Regime (more specifically the Edo period), Meiji era (1868-1905), Modern era including Taisho era (1905 - 1951), and finally Post WWII contemporary Japan (1952-2000).
Gordon then further subdivides each time period to specifically address general history, specific political landscape, economic development and social and cultural events and movements. While by no means thorough, it is a good in-depth survey of all the influences at play. He also examined gender roles which had been something I had been very curious about and very grateful that he did not neglect it. He also does an excellent job of laying out the big picture and elegantly does it despite it being a huge undertaking.
I thorough recommend this book for someone that is not overly knowledgeable about Japanese history and culture but has strong interest. It is not light reading and is very dense so it would not be appropriate for the casual reader who is merely curious but has no strong interest in the subject.