Perilous Moon: Occupied France, 1944-The End Game
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 2 Jun 2013
The air war was impersonal. Pilots and bombardiers, sheltered inside metal, dropped bombs on targets, whose occupants remained unseen by their attackers. Even when aircraft were shot down, the remains were not always recognizable. Every so often, a book challenged that notion, and the latest such book was Perilous Moon by Stuart Nimmo. The book began with two separate stories, one of British bomber pilot Neil Nimmo, the author's father, and German fighter pilot Helmut Bergmann. While the Nimmo story, built on interviews conducted within the family, was told in first person and seemed to have received greater attention, Bergmann was by no means short changed, for he was treated with equal respect without being vilified in any way, despite the fact that the two stories would ultimately cross paths with Bergmann shooting down Nimmo in combat. The author succeeded in the telling of the both of the two young men as people rather than simply instruments of war, and thus putting a face to the brutality of war that was more often than not anonymous. For me, the upbringing of Bergmann in Nazi-era Germany, Nimmo's experiences with civilians of occupied France, and the great many photographs from the author's private collection were the three most treasured parts of the book. I would recommend Perilous Moon to those who enjoy memoirs of airmen without hesitation.
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