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Extended Audio Sample Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, by John W. Dower Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (981 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John W. Dower Narrator: Edward Lewis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this illuminating study, Dower explores the ways in which the shattering defeat of the Japanese in World War II, followed by over six years of American military occupation, affected every level of Japanese society. He describes the countless ways in which the Japanese met the challenge of “starting over”—from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes, fears, and activities of ordinary men and women in every walk of life. He shows us the intense and turbulent interplay of conqueror and conquered, West and East, in a way no Western historian has done before.

This is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary moment in history, when new values warred with the old, and early ideals of demilitarization and radical reform were soon challenged by the United States’ decision to incorporate Japan in the Cold War Pax Americana.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A magisterial and beautifully written book…A pleasure to read.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An extraordinarily illuminating book…Surely the most significant work to date on the postwar era in Japan.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “The writing of history doesn’t get much better than this…[Dower] deftly situates the political story within a rich cultural context…The book is most remarkable, however, for the way Dower judiciously explores...complex moral and political issues.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Dower absorbingly explains how American forces imposed a revolution from above in six years of occupation that transformed imperial Japan into a democracy...A turning point in Japanese history, illuminated through diligent research and piercing insight.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2002 Yamagata Banto Prize
  • Winner of the 2000 Bancroft Prize
  • A 1999 ALA Notable Book Finalist
  • Winner of the 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History
  • A 1999 Lionel Gelber Prize Finalist
  • A 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Emily | 2/19/2014

    " The definitive work on the occupation of Japan post WWII, winning the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, along with a myriad of other accolades. Extremely readable it is just as appropriate as a leisure read as it would be on a college syllabus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jessie | 2/7/2014

    " I thought I've read hundreds of accounts on this historical episode but no one quite comes close to what Dower has achieved. Stories he tells so beautifully about how the Japanese coped with defeat are vivid, compelling, and deeply moving. His analysis of the American occupiers as neocolonial overlords is sweeping and provocative (to the point of being exaggerated at times), but overall very effective. It is a mark of craftsmanship unparalleled by other historians of Japan and truly deserving of a Pulitzer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Parker | 2/5/2014

    " Learning their emperor wasn't God, having Americans write their Constitution for them, watching a culture come to grips with itself in shambles is fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Hatuxka | 1/26/2014

    " I had put this book down for years, but took it up again after reading retribution by Max Hastings. the most fascinating part is now, describing how the modern day constitution of Japan came into being. "

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