9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A clear and well-written book on a subject often overlooked, 29 Nov. 2000
The rapid and peaceful transformation of Japan after World War Two from a ravaged, war-torn country to a successful, propserous nation whose economy ranks number 2 in the world today is a subject, or more accurately, a phenomenon, that is often overlooked and taken for granted. Yet, this was, at that time, by no means a foregone outcome, and indeed many Japanese feared that their American occupiers would unleash revenge upon them for Japan's wartime atrocities. This in essence is what John Dower's book is about. In clear and easy-to-understand language, refraining from confusing technical and historical jargon, Dower shows how this process was undertaken by the Americans, and essentially how it was viewed and experienced by the Japanese themselves. Ranging from a vivid description of the desperate situation that Japan found herself after the war to the intriguing question of why the Emperor was allowed to keep his place on the throne and the persistant issue of Japan's war-time responsibility, this book guides the reader by the hand through a period in history that was extraordinary and unprecedented. Even if one has little interest or background in Japanese or American history, "Embracing Defeat" is a marvellous book to read as a novel, testimony to the fact that it won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction writing.