Bruce's Reviews > The Moon Is Down

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
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Dec 19, 08

Recommended to Bruce by: Carla Nagle
Read in December, 2008

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. The novella reads much like a parable and exhibits Steinbeck's skill in characterization and psychological sensitivity. That it is meant as a work of propaganda cannot be disguised, but I think it stands as a substantive piece of literature in its own right. The work raises at least two important questions: What is the nature of propaganda itself, how can it be defined, is it a particular genre or is its categorization as propaganda determined by its intent?, these being interesting and pertinent issues for consideration; the second question in some way strikes closer to home, involving the extent to which this small tale can be transposed to the current world, specifically to the situation in, eg, Iraq, where coalition forces (if there is much of a coalition remaining) are seen by many as occupiers.
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