John Willard Toland, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, died on Jan. 4 from pneumonia. He was 91.
Toland received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Massachusetts then attended the Yale Drama School. He served in the Army Air Corps and worked for many years as a struggling writer before becoming one of the most widely read military historians of the 20th century.
In 1971, Toland won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for his book, “The Rising Sun,” which described the rise and fall of the Japanese empire during World War II from the Japanese perspective. Five years later, his biography of German dictator, Adolf Hitler, became a best-seller. Toland’s 1982 book, “Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath,” generated a great deal of controversy because it claimed President Franklin D. Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the attack.
“I don’t violate history. I just try to follow the mainstream of history, viewing it as it happened rather than showing you something that happened and start criticizing what people did,” Toland once said.