Perilous Moon

Occupied France, 1944—The End Game

Stuart Nimmo

"The detail in the book, including scores of photos and maps, is remarkable. What a story he had to tell. And what a story his son Stuart has written.
Publication date:
December 2012
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
Lavishly illustrated throughout
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612001241

Dimensions : 203 X 254 mm
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• A fascinating glimpse into the untold civilian maelstrom of the war - one man's undercover life in France during World War II

"The detail in the book, including scores of photos and maps, is remarkable. What a story he had to tell. And what a story his son Stuart has written.” - Arnie Wilson Huffington Post

Perilous Moon is a lavishly illustrated book that observes Occupied France during World War II through the eyes of British bomber pilot Neil Nimmo and newly discovered period photographs. Shot down by Luftwaffe nightfighter pilot Helmut Bergmann, Nimmo and his crew were the German's sixth of seven victims in 46 minutes. With seven wrecked Lancasters and 38 Allied airmen killed, Bergmann had singlehandedly turned what should have been a relatively simple RAF raid into a life-long nightmare.

With barely time to parachute from Q-Queenie, his stricken Lancaster, Neil Nimmo's unholy adventure had only just begun. Unusually, Perilous Moon follows both pilots, Nimmo and Bergmann, through the war after that April night, and continues to observe them as the Occupation of France comes to a sticky end.

Three weeks after landing on a ploughed field between Amiens and Abbeville, Neil Nimmo was in Paris, the endlessly mysterious Nazi-occupied French capital. Seething with Nazis and intrigue, the beautiful city remained remarkably unscathed, but steeped in political and moral ambiguity.

Alongside the occupying forces, the Gestapo and French collaborators, Paris held its share of remarkably brave, often-fearless Resistance workers. But for the moment, average Parisian life would go on, stubborn French individualism triumphing over politics, and hardship met by resignation or stiff resolve. This odd normality wouldn't last once D-Day came, and after it became clear the desperate Allied gamble had worked, the Germans were caught wrong-footed, and both the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht supply lines were failing.

When the Allies broke out from their beachheads and raced south to Paris, many French changed sides or swayed yet further in the Allies favour. Toward the end, as France became a bloody battlefront, with it came intrigue, score-settling and murder. As the tide turned Neil Nimmo was close to it all—things had changed, the previously reluctant and confirmed collaborator now found his stance a dangerous liability, and an evading Allied airman was now an invaluable and possibly life-saving asset.

In the late 1980's Neil Nimmo fell ill and is no longer with us, but in Perilous Moon his son Stuart Nimmo, a Paris based documentary maker, closely chronicles the period with over 200 original, previously hidden photographs. This unusual, fascinating book cuts through the fog that shrouded the Occupation, and which continued to linger for decades to come.


What makes Perilous Moon so special, so ultimately that it goes far beyond that comforting narrative: this is the story of two young men, not one. With remarkable industry, Stuart Nimmo has researched the life of Helmut Bergmann, the Nazi ace who was only 24 when he shot down... an unforgettable book, which deserves to be in your WWII library, no matter how crowded that library is.
Steve Donoghue

Stuart Nimmo, perspicacious journalist, assiduous historian, fine storyteller, and devoted son has given us a masterwork of rare images and gripping narrative.
Mort Rosenbloom, Author, Journalist, Formerly Editor Of International Herald Tribune, Special Correspondent and Bureau Chief Associated Press

Speaking personally, as a long time student of the air war, and a publisher of military history for 20 years, this is just my sort of thing.
Ian Drury