St. Paul, Minn. – English Professor James Dawes’ book Evil Men recently won the "Importance in Increasing the Awareness of Human Rights" award at the International Human Rights Book Awards in Vienna, Austria.

Evil Men draws on firsthand interviews with convicted war criminals from the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). Dawes leads the reader into the frightening territory where soldiers perpetrated some of the worst crimes imaginable: murder, torture, rape, and medical experimentation on living subjects. Transcending conventional reporting and commentary, Dawes’s narrative weaves together unforgettable segments from the interviews with consideration of the troubling issues they raise. Telling the personal story of his journey to Japan, Dawes also lays bare the cultural misunderstandings and ethical compromises that at times called the legitimacy of his entire project into question. For this book is not just about the things war criminals do. It is about what it is like, and what it means, to befriend them.

Prof. Johann P. Fritz, director of the International Press Institute (IPI) headquartered in Vienna, Austria, established the “Importance in Increasing the Awareness of Human Rights" Award in 2009.  Members of an International Committee of prominent media and communications personalities nominate a book each year that they find “eminently precious,” in the sense of the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights. The Austrian jury then has three-four months to read these books, which must be available in an English or German edition.  The books for the 2013 competition equaled approximately 7,000 pages.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,011 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

May 19 2014

Back to top