Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II
From the movie Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, we get a glimpse of the underlying crisis in 1942 of the people stuck there, desperately trying to get out. Hindley rips back the veil to reveal what was really going on in the seaport hub of French Morocco at the zenith of Nazi domination.
Hindley unfolds the complexities of the French policies that tangled North Africa between Allied sympathies, revolutionaries, and Vichy devotees by following several key figures, granting us a three-dimensional feel of time and place. Robert Murphy organizes a spy network known as the “Apostles.” Josephine Baker, a sexy torch singer, becomes a spy and later a touring starlet for the Allied troops. Helene Cazes-Benatar, a selfless attorney, works diligently to arrange transportation, visas, and financing for countless refugees trapped in Moroccan internment camps. These are but a few of the unsung heroes whose lives intersect with more famous names like Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Patton, Churchill, de Gaulle, and others.
Hindley’s focus on the people involved, and the stresses which compelled them to act as they did, drive this story so that it reads more like an action-packed novel than a historical documentary. So captivating is her work, Hindley might inspire yet another film on what really happened in Casablanca.