Dale Jr.'s Reviews > The Moon is Down

The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
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's review
Aug 21, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: literature, fiction, 4-star

"I prophesy to you who are my murderers that immediately after my--departure punishment far heavier than you have inflicted on me will surely await you...If you think that by killing men you can prevent someone from censuring your evil lives, you are mistaken."

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 army of Orden's small town.

In 1942, this book would have landed as a hard-hitting call-to-arms for anyone and everyone who were being invaded by the Axis powers. This is, at its very base, Allied propaganda, as it has been mentioned in prior reviews. But that is merely its base.

Steinbeck humanizes both sides of the warring nations in this short novella. He gives both sides faces, feelings, and decent human qualities while most propaganda at the time would merely debase the opposing side to mongrels and worthless animals. Steinbeck has far more grace than this.

While he humanizes both sides and even illicits feelings of sympathy for the conquering army, he draws a distinct line between the two which, I feel, is summed up in one incredible passage from the book again from Orden the humble mayor:

"You see, sir, nothing can change it. You will be destroyed and driven out." His voice was very soft. "The people don't like to be conquered, sir, and so they will not be. 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 herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars. You will find that is so, sir."

Remember, this was before the end of WWII and Steinbeck predicts the fall of the Axis powers between the covers of The Moon Is Down. He predicts the fall of Hitler's "herd men" and the perseverance of the free world and Allied powers.

This book could have done nothing more than rally troops fighting against the Axis powers and boost moral. Hell, it made me feel confident in the good of men and the perseverance of human goodness and I have been known to be a bit of a misanthrope.

I wont dive into plot as it is very straightforward and, really, the book will take you a very short time to read. And I recommend that you do. It is a spectacular, quick, and rousing read from Steinbeck.
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Reading Progress

August 21, 2012 – Started Reading
August 21, 2012 – Shelved
August 21, 2012 –
page 42
August 21, 2012 –
page 72
August 21, 2012 –
page 90
47.87% "This is an incredible book."
August 22, 2012 –
page 188
August 22, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 20, 2012 – Shelved as: literature
September 20, 2012 – Shelved as: fiction
October 13, 2012 – Shelved as: 4-star

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Samantha This is one of my favorite books ever! Hope you like it :)

Dale Jr. Samantha wrote: "This is one of my favorite books ever! Hope you like it :)"

Loving it so far. I'll finish it when I get home.

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