Annal: 2000 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2000.

Book:Embracing Defeat

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

John W. Dower

The first definitive history of the transformation of Japanese society under American occupation after World War II. This major new work by America’s foremost historian of modern Japan draws on a vast range of Japanese sources to offer an extraordinarily thorough, complex, and rich analysis of how shattering defeat in World War II followed by over six years of military occupation by the United States affected every level of Japanese society-in ways that neither the victor nor the vanquished could anticipate. Here is the history of an extraordinary moment in the history of Japanese culture, when new values warred with old, and when early ideals of “peace and democracy” were soon challenged by the “reverse course” decision to incorporate Japan into the cold-war Pax Americana. Embracing Defeat chronicles not only the material and psychological impact of utter defeat but also the early emergence of dynamic countercultures that gave primacy to the private as opposed to public spheres-in short, a liberation from totalitarian wartime control. John Dower shows how the tangled legacies of this intense, turbulent, and unprecedented interplay of conqueror and conquered, West and East, wrought the utterly foreign and strangely familiar Japan of today.

Book:The Elegant Universe

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Brian Greene

String theory, many physicists believe, is the key to the unified field theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. At last, science has found a way to overcome the nearly century-old rift between the laws of the large - general relativity - and the laws of the small - quantum mechanics. String theory deftly unites these two pillars of modern physics into a single, harmonious whole by declaring that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe arise from the vibrations of one single entity: microscopically tiny loops of energy that lie deep within the heart of matter.

In this articulated and clear book, Brian Greene relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind the search for the ultimate theory. Through the artful use of metaphor and analogy, The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated viscerally accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.

Book:Living on the Wind

Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds

Scott Weidensaul

The magnificent story of the natural world’s most epic journeys.

At whatever moment you read these words, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating. If it is spring or fall, the great pivot points of the year, then the continents are swarming with hundreds of millions of traveling birds-a flood so great that even the most ignorant or unobservant notice the skeins of geese and the flocks of robins.

Bird migration is the one truly unifying natural phenomenon in the world, stitching the continents together in a way that even the great weather systems, which roar out from the poles but fizzle at the equator, fail to do. Scott Weidensaul follows the awesome kettles of hawks over the Mexican coastal plains, the bar-tailed godwits that hitchhike on gale winds 6,000 miles nonstop across the Pacific from Alaska to New Zealand, and the myriad songbirds whose numbers have dwindled so dramatically in recent…[more]

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