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Eve of a Hundred Midnights: The Star-Crossed Love Story of Two WWII Correspondents and Their Epic Escape Across the Pacific Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 21, 2016
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“An affectionate look at the adventures of a World War II correspondent. ... [A] vivid portrait.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“[An] engaging debut. ... Lascher succeeds in highlighting Jacoby’s brief yet important life.” (Library Journal)
“A gripping... narrative of daring and dedication.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Propulsive. ... [A] remarkable book, which is part history, part a celebration of war correspondence, but, mostly, a love story. ... Lascher conveys the privation, danger, and romance of this time in an utterly detailed and beguiling way.” (Booklist (starred review))
“A gripping, well told, and accurate reconstruction of a very dramatic and romantic time in the life stories of two young journalists caught in the upheavals of World War II Asia. A story of high adventure.” (Stephen R. MacKinnon, author of China Reporting: An Oral History of American Journalism in the 1930s and 1940s)
“I am deeply moved by the story of Mel and Annalee Jacoby. Bill Lascher provides a rich account of life in Chungking, where young Jacoby cut his teeth as a Time correspondent, before taking us into the whirlwind of MacArthur’s retreat to Corregidor. It’s a breathtaking story all the way.” (Peter Rand, author of China Hands)
“The unforgettable story of Bill Lascher’s cousin, a man he meets through his own reporting to uncover a piece of family history that also belongs in the archives of America’s great war correspondents. This is every bit a book about what drives reporters to the frontlines.” (Jackie Spinner, author of Tell Them I Didn't Cry)
“Bill Lascher charts the career of Melville Jacoby, his equally erudite wife Annalee, and their circle of committed, talented reporter-friends whose combined journalism evokes an era.” (Paul French, New York Times bestselling author of Midnight in Peking)
About the Author
Bill Lascher is a journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Pacific Standard, Atlas Obscura, Gizmodo, Portland Monthly, and elsewhere. He was a 2011 Knight Digital Media Center multimedia and convergence fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. Lascher is a graduate of Oberlin College, the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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The book contains interesting aspects of Melville Jacoby’s experience as a young journalist who so-called had his heart and soul in Asia once he set foot in Chunking, present-day Chongqing as a student taking a global trip abroad and after attending Stanford University returned and remained reporting of developing events that happened in China up to July 1937 that sparked the beginning of the Second-Sino Japanese War. Aware of the changing political climate in Asia, Jacoby asserted, “It is Japan’s duty and destiny to rule all Asia and get the British, French, and American out of that part of the world, as a part of its Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere… he predicted that exact strategy that Japan would ultimately employ when it turned its military ambitions toward the Western colonial possessions straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans”(126). Hence Jacoby reported the ward that unraveled before his eyes that culminated to events in China and across the seas to the Philippines; he would be one of the first reporters to send and write of the news of the downfall in Manila and Bataan. He along with Annalee would be involved in the so-called thick of it all when Japanese armies moved into “the rock” Corregidor, an island located off the coast of Manila in which General Douglas MacArthur and his family and military and Philippine officials escaped for refuge after the fall of Manila. The Jacobys and fellow correspondents and friends would also seek refuge and later escape to Australia with the assistance of the General MacArthur. Their experiences is a invaluable piece of history, and despite the circumstances, the Jacoby’s made the best of their circumstance. Readers may not be surprised if their story bears resemblance to something out of Hollywood movie – plenty of happy moments and a tragic ending. Possibly, the spirit and aura of Annalee, who had been a Hollywood scriptwriter before becoming a correspondent lingered in the midst.
Eve of Hundred Midnights is a thought-provoking story and most importantly, one that many may also share the parallels, families gripped during wartime similar with the lives of Melville and Annalee Jacoby during the most historic events and period in the history of WWII in Asia and the Pacific.