Presenter of the National Book Awards

National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches

John W. Dower, Winner of the 1999 NONFICTION AWARD for
Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

Well, thank you so much. The title of my book was Embracing Defeat. And it took about ten years, and I'm so socialized to do that, I'm not quite sure what to do now. But I do embrace this moment, and I thank you very much. And I want to thank also a few people, beginning with my wife, Yasuko, because we did this together, and we talked it over together about ten years. And she's sitting somewhere over there, and I'd really like her to stand up.

The book was an unusual collaborative publishing venture, with W.W. Norton and The New Press. And this is something quite unusual, a synergy. And my contacts there were Ed Barber of Norton, and Andre Schiffrin, to whom I'm grateful. And I want to thank also my agent, George Borchardt.

And what I was doing in Embracing Defeat, was trying to capture voices of after World War II in Japan. It was a story about Japan after the war, and Americans and Japanese coming together. And what, to capture those voices, I had to go back to so many printed sources, of every nature. Books and magazines, letters to the editor, songs, so many forms of print. And to an historian such as myself, this is a treasure house. And it's something we truly value. And I thank you all for strengthening that treasure house of words. Thank you very much.