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The Moon is Down

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,813 Ratings  ·  879 Reviews
The Moon Is Down
Paperback, 142 pages
Published September 1st 1970 by Pan Books (first published 1942)
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Propaganda is a word often spewed in anger or indignation at some form of manipulative or self-serving communication. It’s generally viewed as objectionable, ugly, and immoral.

Meet the honorable, dignified exception to that stereotype.

John Steinbeck’s 1942 novel, written to support the Allied effort during WWII, is propaganda as pure as freshly fallen snow, as righteous and moral as love for humanity. It is propaganda in affirmation of freedom, self-determination, and the indomitable will of pe
Jason Koivu
Jul 13, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Short and bitter sweet, The Moon is Down shows what becomes of docile countryfolk when they are invaded and subjugated.

Not sure what to expect from this lesser known work by Steinbeck, my first impression after a few pages was that I was in for a light comedy, a sort of Catch-22 anti-war declaration, apparently with silly citizens and gullible army officers acting out a daffy pre-"Hogan's Heroes" farce.

But then it turned serious and dark, and actually hopeful. There are small heroes, tiny victo
"Just for a little while, can't we forget this war? Just for a little while. Just for a little while, can't we talk together like people - together?"

After the outbreak of World War 2, John Steinbeck volunteered to work for several intelligence organizations of the U.S. government. One of them was the COI, short for Office of the Coordinator of Information, which was one of the precursors of the modern day CIA. The COI created The Voice of America, the famous radio program broadcast into the Ax
Nov 03, 2014 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By 10:45 it was all over. The town was occupied, the defenders defeated, and the war was finished.

Not quite. In Steinbeck's 1942 story of a small unnamed town invaded by an unnamed enemy, the war was far from finished.

The book begins with an almost farcical tone - the mayor needs to have his ear hairs trimmed before his meeting with the conquering colonel, the ratfink mole who's been informing on the townsfolk seems surprised that he should not continue to live amongst them, and one of the sol
Aug 23, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

Well before the United States entered World War II, John Steinbeck became involved in several government intelligence and information agencies because he wanted to fight fascism. By September 1941 Steinbeck decided that he would write a work of fiction using what he had learned from European refugees about the psychological effects of occupation on people living in countries which had come under Nazi control. This novella is the result. Set in a village in an unnamed country, it focuses on the e
Dec 02, 2015 Himanshu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars.

Such a thing is war where a haze creeps over our minds, a foggy mist of confusion that dilutes the outline of real versus unreal. Then some words are put together on makeshift pieces of paper to form a book that gets circulated stealthily and the strength is delivered. A strength which i
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب، از 182 صفحه تشکیل شده است و پیامِ اصلی داستان، نبرد برایِ پیروزی و مبارزه در راهِ آزادیست
داستانِ در موردِ مردمِ شهرِ « قصبه» و مبارزۀ آنها با اشغالگرانِ آلمانیست... « قصبه» دهکدۀ کوچکی در « نروژ» است... مردمانش بسیار آرام و صلح جو هستند و تنها 12 نفر نیرویِ مسلح و قوایِ محلی دارند که در همان لحظاتِ اولیۀ حملۀ آلمان ها تار و مار شدند
عزیزانم، برخلافِ مردمِ میهن پرست و شجاعِ « قصبه»، نخست وزیرِ پست و میهن فروشِ « نروژ» کشورش را دو دستی تقدیم به آلمان ها و هیتلر میکند، اما
Henry Martin
Nov 14, 2014 Henry Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that my reading this year has been all over the place - some philosophical works, some Balzac, some classics, some indie titles, some surrealism - so when I reached for this unknown-to-me Steinbeck, I had no idea whether I was going to like it or not.

But alas, it is Steinbeck.

Despite being rather short, this book delivers much food for thought. Looking at the GR database, many readers have labeled this book as propaganda (apparently, it was written as such). Yet, I cannot label it

I read this in one night when I flopped drunk on my friend's girlfriend's couch after a night around the bars.

It's so timely as to be telepathic.

One character literally remarks, regarding the town his troops are occupying, how he is puzzled that there were no flowers or candy thrown at the soldiers who "liberated" them, as everyone had promised they would.

I mean, Come On, how can that not blow your mind, just a little bit?

It was written as Allied propaganda during WW2 explicity at the request o
I went through most of my life not knowing that The Moon is Down even existed. I haven't been the most fervent fan of John Steinbeck, so that could be the explanation, but in all the classes I've been in, in all the discussions of Steinbeck's work or dicussions of stories of WWII, I've never heard of this book.

When I stumbled upon it in my local used book shop I couldn't help wondering why it was new to me. I figured it must just be a terrible book, unworthy of attention, a rare Steinbeck failu
Mar 28, 2013 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf, humorous, norway, downpour, alt
This is filled with ironic humor. Line after line after line. Or is my brain twisted?!

Isn't it kind of funny that the value of propaganda, which is what this was when it was originally written in 1942, all depends on which side you stand? Propaganda is usually seen as "bad literature". Not here. This is the first time I have read propaganda that gets its message across through humor, and it is good!

Here is a little background information:

Dec 19, 2008 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bruce by: Carla Nagle
This little novella was written in 1942 as a work of propaganda to assist the Allied war effort. At the time Steinbeck came under some criticism for portraying the Germans (the conquerors were not actually identified as German in the book itself) too sympathetically, in contrast to the more virulent and crude propaganda that tried to demonize them. After the war, the work was more universally praised when it became apparent that it had greatly encouraged the resistance in Nazi-occupied countries ...more
Mohammed Orabi
" إن الأحرار لا يمكن أن يبدءوا حربا ، ولكن ما إن تبدأ الحرب حتى يقاتلوا ولو وقعت بهم الهزيمة . أما قطعان الناس الذين ينساقون لزعيم واحد ، فلا يمكن أن يفعلوا هذا .. ومن ثم فإن القطعان هم الذين يفوزن دائما في المعارك والأشتباكات .. أما الأحرار فهم الذين يفوزون في نهاية الحرب ! .. "
Tämä klassikkokirja ilmestyi Yhdysvalloissa vuonna 1942. Kirjan avulla kirjailija halusi vastustaa fasismia. Kirjahan oli kiellettyjen listalla kaikkialla missä natsit olivat vallassa. Italiassa sai kuolemantuomion, jos piti kirjaa hallussaan. Tämä kirja oli suosituin propagandakirja natsien valloittamissa maissa ja levisi ns. maanalaisesti kaikkialle.
Kirjan tarina on kuin suoraan norjalaisesta tv-sarjasta Miehitetty, paitsi miehittäjinä olivat natsit ja halusivat kaiken hiilentuotannon, kun ta
Feb 17, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Steinbeck published The Moon is Down in 1942.

While not directly naming either Norway or Germany, the reader understands that the setting is Norway during the Nazi German occupation, which began in 1940. Written for easy adaptation to the theater, Steinbeck evokes Ibsen with his play-like, scene-focused action.

When the novel was published, Nazi German forces occupied much of Europe and North Africa and the Anglo-American and Russian allied forces had yet to check Nazi aggression and expans
Brilliant 4.5 Stars

They think that just because they have only one leader and one head, we are all like that. They know that ten heads lopped off will destroy them, but we are a free people; we have as many heads as we have people, and in a time of need leaders pop up among us like mushrooms.

This may be a novella, but one that contains a strong message. I read this with such rapture, even felt sorry as the book was very short. The Leader here is sardonically meaning Hitler, whose imbecile way o
Nov 24, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck wrote this novel in support of the occupied territories of Europe during WWII. The novel centers on the invasion of an unnamed Northern European country (like Norway) by unnamed conquerors (like the Germans), and reads almost like a play. In fact, it was later adapted for the theater by Steinbeck himself. Its atmosphere of staunch socio-political defiance reminded me of Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People'. It's not perfect; the setting and some of the conversations could have been better, ...more
Mar 21, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it and very nearly rated it as a 5. Written ostensibly as intelligent propaganda for the allies in WWII - and from reading the afterword in the edition I read, it was seemingly massively effective and influential in that context across many occupied countries. Whilst being criticised as being over simplistic, I feel the book stands extremely well indeed as a novel in its own right - simply written and with such clarity, it goes to the heart of the human experience and is all the more power ...more
Jenny (adultishbooks)
This is the first "obscure" John Steinbeck I've read and it wasn't on my radar until a week ago. This is totally out of Steinbeck's typical wheelhouse of the working class in California during the 1930s. This book was used as propaganda in the Second World War and the Nazis threatened to (and probably did) kill people who were found with copies of this book. It was copied in secret and garnered some criticism for making the invaders "human."

I found this book fascinating. It's set up as a caution
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Moon is down, John Ernst Steinbeck (1902 - 1968)
عنوان: ماه پنهان است؛ اثر: جان اشتاین بک، ترجمه: پرویز داریوش؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، سازمان کتابهای جیبی: موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1341، در 182 ص، اندازه 11در5/16 س.م.، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی، قرن 20 م، جنگ جهانی دوم، 1939 تا 1945 م.، نروژ، داستان

عنوان: ماه پنهان است؛ اثر: جان اشتاین بک، ترجمه: پرویز داریوش؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، اساطیر، 1365، در 162 ص، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی، قرن 20 م، جنگ جهانی دوم، 1939 تا 1945 م.، نروژ،
Jun 29, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steinbeck fans and anybody who believes war is not the answer.
Shelves: fiction, 2009, library
If all propaganda was this intelligent and well-written, human beings could stand up a bit taller and a bit prouder. Steinbeck wrote this as during WWII to support the people and countries occupied by Nazi-Germany - Denmark being one of them - and he did a marvellous job.

The book is about a small, peaceful town in a small, peaceful country which is occupied by a conquering force - helped on the way by a traitor in the town. At first, the town people are surprised and not really able to grasp it
Nov 15, 2011 Emanuela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
E' un romanzo breve, parla di guerra, di un popolo pacifico che viene conquistato con le armi.
Più si va avanti nella lettura più questi invasori prendono la forma dei tedeschi nella II guerra mondiale.
Il medico del villaggio li definisce così: "La mosche hanno conquistato la carta moschicida disse Winter."

E infatti, il momento più intenso del libro riguarda la condizione psicologica, a volte estrema dei soldati stranieri, che passa dall'arroganza e sicurezza degli ordini che impartiscono ed ese
Dec 11, 2009 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're ever scouting for a robust, fast read, Steinbeck's war novella might be the ticket. Very popular when it was published in 1942, THE MOON IS DOWN concerns an invading force snatching a small European town. Troubles ensue. Though the names aren't given, you know Steinbeck is talking about the Nazis probably occupying Norway. "The Leader" is Hitler. There's a patriotic verve here, but it doesn't grow overly hokey or schmaltzy. The violence isn't graphic, and Steinbeck's prose often shines ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Rose
Shelves: 2009
“The Moon is Down” is a fine work of wartime propaganda, and more nuanced than most, which explains why it's still read so long after its initial purpose was served. A modern-day reader can easily see how it must have provided encouragement to members of the resistance in Nazi-occupied countries. Nevertheless, it's still a work of propaganda, and suffers from being didactic, as such works always are. (It's even more didactic than most John Steinbeck novels, including his best, tended to be.) Whi ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Sawsan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
في مغيب القمر رواية كتبها جون شتاينبك ونشرت عام 1942 أثناء الحرب العالمية الثانية
بلدة صغيرة يدخلها جيش الاحتلال لاستغلال مناجم الفحم الموجودة فيها, يحكي شتاينبك عن عمدة البلدة وأهلها البسطاء في مواجهة ومقاومة الاحتلال
ويصف حال جنود الاحتلال وما يدور في نفوسهم ما بين الشعور بالقوة والغرور, وبين العزلة والغربة ورغبتهم الشديدة بمرور الوقت بالعودة لبلادهم وأهلهم
الأكيد انه ما في شعب مسالم إذا ما تعرض هذا الشعب لاحتلال أرضه وفقد حريته
هذه الرواية البسيطة كان لها أثر مشجع ومساند لسكان الدول التي احتلته
Amante Libri
Feb 18, 2016 Amante Libri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Alle dieci e quarantacinque era tutto finito. La città era occupata, i difensori abbattuti e la guerra finita."
In Norvegia un piccolo villaggio lotta contro l'invasione tedesca e il sindaco Orden, personaggio di saldi principi e forti ideali, fa di tutto per garantire i propri cittadini, per riportare l'ordine pacifico, l'unione dei singoli in una comunità e soprattutto la libertà "-Quando la cittadinanza deciderà cosa vuol fare, io probabilmente agirò in quel senso.
-Ma voi siete l'autorità.
Dec 28, 2007 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I read this when I was fifteen and loved it. I was always interested in World War Two and was fascinated by the whole idea of a villiage being taken over by Nazi soldiers and how resistance grows, almost inevitably.

When I read it again recently I was surprised by how some of the characters were much less interesting than I had remembered them. The part where the woman looks like she is about to have sex with the German soldier really effected me as a fifteen year old, but not quite as much as a
Jun 27, 2016 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, this was beautiful
Apr 27, 2015 Realini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Impressive work, 8 out of 10

These will be notes about the adaptation of the original novel, for the National Theater.
Mihail Sebastian is the very talented author who took on this novel, certainly interested in the subject.
An army occupies a town somewhere in Northern Europe and we can be pretty sure that the invaders are Germans.
From the very start there is a conflict, as soldiers search for guns in the houses of the mayor and the doctor.
In spite of the usual de
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
More about John Steinbeck...

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“Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat. Herd men, followers of a leader, cannot do that, and so it is always the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars.” 29 likes
“I have no choice of living or dying, you see, sir--but I do have a choice of how I do it. If I tell them not to fight, they will be sorry, but they will fight. If I tell them to fight, they will be glad, and I who am not a very brave man will have made them a little braver.” 21 likes
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