From interviews and archival documents, Lascher creates a seamless narrative of daring and dedication.

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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

Two journalists caught in war and love.

In 1936, when Stanford undergraduate Melville Jacoby first visited China on a student exchange program, he immediately felt drawn to the region and to travel. “The itch is perpetual,” he confessed. Jacoby returned to Stanford to focus his studies on Asian affairs and journalism, and by 1939, he had gathered enough writing assignments for a return to Asia. Briefly back in the United States, he met and fell in love with Annalee Whitmore, a writer who shared his fascination with the Far East. In 1941, she followed him there, and the two married. When journalist Lascher discovered that Mel Jacoby was his cousin, he was inspired to find out as much as he could about the man political journalist Theodore White called “one of the greatest U.S. war correspondents.” The result is a gripping, impressively researched debut, both a biography of Jacoby and a history of Asia in the throes of war. Mel and Annalee soon settled in Manila, where Mel became Time magazine’s Far East bureau chief; his reporting gave America its only “window onto the buildup for war in the Pacific.” Lascher ably conveys the frustration of Army officers with the “Europe First” strategy, which left them without necessary supplies and soldiers. He chronicles Japan’s increasing belligerence, the Nanking massacre, unceasing bombing, and internment of reporters. Fearing for their lives, Mel and Annalee left Manila, burning piles of notes before they fled to Corregidor. From there, they closely followed the war, including the “subdivision of hell” on the Bataan Peninsula. Soon, though, they needed to escape once more, this time making a slow, dangerous journey to Australia, traveling by boat only at night. From Melbourne, they learned of the Bataan Death March, which killed between 7,000 and 10,000 Americans and Filipinos.

From interviews and archival documents, Lascher creates a seamless narrative of daring and dedication.

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237520-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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