The Moon Is Down
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. We have begun publishing his many works for the first time as blackspine Penguin Classics featuring eye-catching, newly commissioned art. This season we continue with the seven spectacular and influential books East of Eden, Cannery R...more
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...more
To invade a country is easier than to occupy one. Have we not observed this throughout history and in our own lifetimes? A successful invasion does not necessarily a successful war make, and the corollary is--to be invaded is not necessarily to be conquered.
In 1942, Steinbeck dramatized the relationship between occupiers and occupied. Though he does not identify any nationality, it is clear that the setting is WWII, an...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon...
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 s...more
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...more
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...more
I'm really glad I did. Unlike the better-known Cannery Row, I couldn't put this one down. It's about "the effects of invasion on both conqueror and conquered" (according to...more
I love Steinbeck, but his abrupt and unresolved endings always bother me. Still well worth reading, though.
I ended up finishing this one by the next day. Its a book unlike most Steinbeck, similar really only to Of Mice and Men in its ability to fix readers, grasping hold until the last page is turned. This book is s...more
According to the forward of the edition I read, Steinbeck initially wrote his story of a resistance...more
Ispirandosi ad un fatto realmente accaduto in Norvegia durante l’occupazione nazista, Steinbeck scrive nel 1942, in piena seconda guerra mondiale, questo breve romanzo che è l’esempio della capacità di un popolo pacifico e democratico di fare muro comune contro l’invasore, non senza ribellioni e attentati dinamitardi, ma anche e soprattutto attraverso una sorta di resistenza pacata e s...more
As the words of Plato's Socrates ring with a haunting truth of the grim future which lies ahead for his accusers, the recitation of these words by Mayor Orden in Steinbeck's "The Moon Is Down" cast a haunting shroud over the conquering arm...more
Although the book is just over 100 pages it presents the dilemmas and challenges of the occupiers against the worries, concerns and behaviours of the local population well and the story moves quickly to its conclusion.
The copy I read (Penguin 1995) had an introduction that helped me understand the context...more
This book does something no other book has in the past, it humanized "the other side". It gave the enemy a face, a human face and at the time that was unheard of. You feel bad for them, you want them to somehow win even though they're the "bad guys". Just because their ideas don't matc...more
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...more
After reading just one chapter of this very short (about 100 pages) book, I have been struck by its cleverness and find it quite droll in its approach. The subject is not at all droll, in and of itself. (Surprised me with its ton...more
In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley...more