NONFICTION: “Twelve Desperate Miles,” by Tim Brady


NONFICTION: “Twelve Desperate Miles,” by Tim Brady

The true story of a banana boat, pressed into service in Morocco during World War II, and the heroic ventures of the men on board.


Thousands of books have been published about World War II, and the flood has not ended. Perhaps it never will. Amid so many twice-told tales, St. Paul author Tim Brady has found a relatively fresh angle.

Brady, who writes frequently for the History Channel Magazine, focuses on a few weeks in late 1942, as the United States and its allies decide to defeat the German troops in North Africa, part of a strategy to defeat the Nazis in Europe, too. More specifically, the campaign chosen by Brady as the centerpiece of his saga involves a dangerous journey on the River Sebou in Morocco. The Allied commanders needed to find a ship that could navigate the extremely shallow waters of the Sebou, while loaded with airplane fuel and bombs.

The ship they found operated primarily as a banana carrier and was owned by a private corporation before the war. As Brady tells the story of how the ship ended up in a war zone, he focuses not so much on the battle but on the preparation of the vessel for war. The heroes are numerous, but perhaps the first among equals in Brady’s telling is Rene Malevergne, a French Moroccan intimately familiar with navigating the difficult River Sebou. In a tale with many twists and intrigues, Malevergne is spirited out of Morocco by the Allied forces, recruited for the mission, and eventually lauded for his heroism.

Brady writes clearly, showing he knows how to craft a true-to-life war narrative.



Posted on June 10, 2012, in Morocco News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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