Bill Lascher

Bill Lascher

Bill Lascher crafts stories about the intersection of people, history and place through meticulous research and immersive narrative. His interest in wartime Asia as witnessed by Melville Jacoby was first piqued after his grandmother — Jacoby’s cousin — shared a trove of Mel’s original photographs and negatives from across East and Southeast Asia, 16mm home movies of pre-war Guangzhou and bomb-blasted Chongqing, handwritten letters, telegrams, and other artifacts. Picking up the thread, Lascher spent five years tracing Mel’s story through archival and private collections, interviews, and other sources across the United States, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines to produce his 2016 biography of Jacoby, Eve of a Hundred Midnights: The Star-Crossed Love Story of Two World War II Correspondents and their Epic Escape Across the Pacific (William Morrow). Described by reviewers as “gripping, impressively researched” and “propulsive,” Eve of a Hundred Midnights chronicled Mel’s transition from exchange student to wartime foreign correspondent as well as his romance with MGM screenwriter-turned-journalist Annalee Whitmore Jacoby.

Lascher’s freelance work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, journals, broadcast outlets and podcasts, including Atlas Obscura, American History Tellers, The Guardian, The Oregonian, Next City, The Magazine, Boom: A Journal of California, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland Monthly and Pacific Standard. His most recent book is The Golden Fortress: California’s Border War on Dust Bowl Refugees (Chicago Review Press), about a spotlight-hungry Los Angeles police chief’s deployment of armed officers to California’s borders to block poor migrants from entering the state during the Great Depression.

Inspired by Mel Jacoby’s photojournalism during the war, Lascher has a growing interest in analog photography and shooting, developing, printing, and preserving film in a digital world. His website is www.lascheratlarge.com.