A Danger Shared: The Story of Melville Jacoby

Melville Jacoby. Click to see more photos of and by Mel.  (Photo by Carl Mydans)

Melville Jacoby. Click to see more photos of and by Mel.  (Photo by Carl Mydans)

With a hand-in-hand leap from a burning dock onto the last boat out of Manila Harbor on New Year's Eve, 1941, World War II-era journalists Melville and Annalee Jacoby began an island journey unlike any other honeymoon.

Just arrived from China and married only a week before Pearl Harbor, the couple found themselves traveling by boat only by night, fleeing from a Japanese blacklist and near-certain execution. This was just the culmination of a legendary romance sparked amid the flames of war.

The escape also provided the denouement for the incredible true story of a rudderless college student's transformation into a confident, handsome correspondent whose prescient reporting, leading-man charm and incredible good fortune set him on the path toward becoming one of the most important journalists of the 20th Century, that is, had he not taken one crucial detour. This is a journey whose first steps began years earlier amid what turned out to be the first shots of World War II. What was meant to be a typical year studying abroad left a privileged but conscientious young man forever enamored with China and its emergence on the world stage.

Combining the memories of Mel's surviving family and friends with extensive research into his personal life and career, exciting multimedia features, and a gripping narrative, an upcoming book will tell Mel's story of adventure, romance and tragedy during a time of great global upheaval. The story Mel didn't get to tell.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out the video below comprised of film shot by Mel in China and accompanied by a selection from one of his letters. When you're done, explore the gallery of pictures of Mel and images from wartime China and the Philippines as he experienced them from the frontlines, and beyond!

Help Me Tell Mel's Story