Chalmers Johnson (August 6, 1931 - November 20, 2010) was an award-winning author, scholar and Truthdig contributor.
Johnson taught from 1962 to 1992 at the Berkeley and San Diego campuses of the University of California and held endowed chairs in Asian politics at both. At Berkeley he was chairman of the Center for Chinese Studies and of the department of political science. His B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics and political science are all from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1968 until 1972 he was a consultant to the Office of National Estimates of the Central Intelligence Agency.
He first visited Japan in 1953 as a U.S. Navy officer and lived and worked there with his wife, the anthropologist Sheila K. Johnson, between 1961 and 1998. He wrote 18 books, including “Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power,” on the Chinese revolution; “An Instance of Treason,” on Japan’s most famous spy; “Revolutionary Change,” on the theory of violent protest movements; and “MITI and the Japanese Miracle,” on Japanese economic development. In 1976, Johnson was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Johnson was chairman of the academic advisory committee for the PBS television series “The Pacific Century,” and he played a prominent role in the PBS “Frontline” documentary “Losing the War with Japan,” both of which won Emmy awards. In 2006 he appeared in the prize-winning documentary film “Why We Fight.”
His 2008 Truthdig book review “Chalmers Johnson on Our ‘Managed Democracy’” was part of the winning entry that earned the site’s book section its first Maggie Award.
His last book, “Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope,” was published by Metropolitan Books in August, 2010.