John W. Dower (born June 21, 1938 in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American author and historian. His 1999 book Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II won the U.S. National Book Award for Nonfiction, the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, the Bancroft Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, and the John K. Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association.Dower earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Amherst College in 1959, and a Ph.D. in History and Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University in 1972, where he studied under Albert M. Craig. He expanded his doctoral dissertation, a biography of former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru, into the book Empire and Aftermath. His other books include a selection of writings by E. Herbert Norman and a study of mutual images during World War II entitled War Without Mercy.
Dower was the executive producer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Hellfire: A Journey from Hiroshima, and was a member of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, sitting on the editorial board of its journal with Noam Chomsky, and Herbert Bix. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California, San Diego, and is a Ford International Professor of History, Emeritus, at MIT.