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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

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

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 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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NIGHT

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

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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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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