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The Moon Is Down av John Steinbeck
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The Moon Is Down (urspr publ 1942; utgåvan 1964)

av John Steinbeck

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
2,818903,601 (3.82)1 / 317
Originally published at the zenith of Nazi Germany's power, The Moon Is Down explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside and betrayal from within the close-knit community. As he delves into the motivations and emotions of the enemy, Steinbeck uncovers profound and often unsettling truths both about war and human nature.… (mer)
Medlem:wickedbrew
Titel:The Moon Is Down
Författare:John Steinbeck
Info:Bantam (1964), Mass Market Paperback
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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this was recommended to me a while ago, and just got to reading it now. it's a quick read, and not a depressing war story like you might think. ( )
  pedstrom | Dec 22, 2020 |
As always I love the writing style and descriptions that give such a great picture into the world that Steinbeck is showing the reader. I had to skip the forward because it was giving away to much, but it's worth going back and getting the context for the book and why he wrote it. ( )
  morgan.goose | Dec 14, 2020 |
The Moon is Down was written with the stage adaptation in mind and would no doubt provide a better experience for its audience in theatrical form than it does in novella form. That’s not to say it was a drag of a book but it does limit itself to the form factor of a play — too short to expand on any ideas; chapters (scenes) opening with descriptions of the setting then consisting almost entirely of dialogue — without providing any of the benefits that would come from a live performance.

The most interesting part of my experience reading The Moon is Down was comparing it to another book from the period: Elmar Green’s Wind from the South. Given that the latter has a total of two Goodreads ratings I’d wager I’m in a unique position to draw parallels.

I found Wind from the South in a used bookstore in some Eastern European city a few years ago and was drawn to it because it was (a) short, (b) cheap, and (c) bound well in an endearingly aged faded blue hardcover. It was the “grab bag” pick from an English language section no larger than a few shelves of a bookcase in a back room and represented almost zero commitment in time or money. Naturally I was drawn to it.

The Moon is Down ended up on my bookshelf for similar reasons. It too was short, cheap, and presented in an endearingly aged faded blue hardcover at a used bookstore. I wanted to read more Steinbeck after my lovely experience with Cannery Row and wasn’t ready to commit to East of Eden or a $45 first edition of The Grapes of Wrath.

Both stories take place in northern European countries victimized during WWII: a besieged Finland in Green’s and [presumably] an invaded Norway in Steinbeck’s. Both, somewhat ironically, serve as propaganda pieces for the allied powers in that war: the Soviet Union in Elmar’s and the USA in Steinbeck’s. The irony here is that the messages, divorced from the combatants they symbolically endorse, are almost completely opposed to each other in philosophy.

In The Moon is Down we are given a heartwarming and patriotic message about the indefatigable free spirit of the citizenry in the warpath of Nazi Germany. This is perhaps best illustrated by a German lieutenant’s nervous ramblings on page 119:


And Tonder went on laughing. “Conquest after conquest, deeper and deeper into molasses.” His laughter choked him and he coughed into his handkerchief. “Maybe the Leader is crazy. Flies conquer the flypaper. Flies capture two hundred miles of new flypaper!” His laughter was growing more hysterical now.


If you are to remember just one byte from The Moon is Down, it would have to be “the flies conquer the flypaper.” A close runner up is “invaded but not conquered.” These lines summarize the message from the novella; that a peoples united by their shared desire to be free from tyranny are bound to overpower the tenuous grasp that the fascist invading army had on their nation. It would have been an uplifting message to receive in 1942.

Wind from the South depicts a country that, while largely successful in holding off the invading army, lost a pieces of itself to the invaders both in land and in spirit. The novella depicts a Finland fractured by the Soviet campaign into their territory, not so much by the towns lost to the Red Army but by the infectious nature of the communist ideal. We follow the everyman Finn from a life of peasanthood to a life as a soldier then back to a life in the disaffected and downtrodden underclass. During the war we see avaricious men rise in status and wealth while honest and righteous citizens like our protagonist lose what little they had to the sound of the beating war drum. The story ends with a similar moralizing call to action as The Moon is Down, calling upon the citizens to act against the injustice they are suffering under a war torn capitalist nation and fight in whatever way they can to preserve the immutable collectivist core of their spirit — which of course can only be achieved through Soviet-style socialism.

Taken separately I wouldn’t recommend either of these works but together they provide fertile ground for a comparison of WWII-era propaganda from two ideological poles that were allied only because neither could stand the idea of a Nazi-controlled Europe. A more thorough investigation on this topic would make for a fun exercise to fill a Sunday afternoon. ( )
  gordonhart | Dec 13, 2020 |
A bad Steinbeck. I guess it had to happen. This doesn't read like a story from the author of In Dubious Battle or The Grapes of Wrath. One-dimensional characters in an piece of blatant propaganda. Written to motivate the resistance movements in Europe during World War II, it doesn't work on any other level. What's sad is that in its effort to fight the propaganda and mindlessness of the enemy, it resorts to using the very same tactics.

Reviewers of this story seem to have read a different book than I did. Maybe it was the book they wanted Steinbeck to write. Maybe it was the one Steinbeck himself wanted to write, if he had the time. These reviews talk of the depth of the characters, the strength of the forming resistance, the futility and stupidity of the invaders, etc. But while we might know these ideas from real-life experience, especially one who was reading this book when it was published in 1942, the book itself doesn't create that world. It's full of indexicals but nothing generative. ( )
  drew_asson | Dec 3, 2020 |
Today is Remembrance Day and so it seems apt that I share the story of this battered little book which belonged to my father. It was published in 1942 under strict wartime conditions by the British Publishers Guild, who were co-operating in the publication of a comprehensive list of important books of universal appeal, published in paper covers at a very low price. Today, three-quarters of a century later, the covers have parted company with the pages, but the heavy duty staples which took the place of proper binding are still holding the pages together. My father was seventeen in 1942, and was a fire watcher and air-raid warden in London before joining the RAF later in the war when he was older. It humbles me to think of him holding this book in his hands and recognising, as I soon did, that its message is one of hope.

My father was no fool: even at seventeen he would have recognised the book as propaganda just as I do. But I like to think that he believed in its fundamental truth, encapsulated in these words at the end of the book:
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 the herd men who win battles and the free men who win wars. (p.90)

The story takes place in an unnamed town invaded by an unnamed occupier at war with England and Russia, further identified as Germany by references to punctuality, officious behaviour, crisp uniforms, blind obedience to orders and a reverie of the Valkyries galloping through to the clouds to the accompaniment of Wagnerian thunder. I assumed that the setting was modelled on the occupation of the Channel Islands, Jersey and Guernsey but no, Wikipedia tells me that the scenario resembles the occupation of Norway by the Germans during World War II. (If I had seen the snowy landscapes on the Viking Press first USA edition cover, I would have known better, but it hardly signifies.)

Steinbeck shows the heroic resistance of the townspeople, led by their unassuming Mayor Orden. The occupiers arrive, assuming that their military might confers the power they need to have their orders followed. They regard the defeated people as orderly, and they believe that they will cooperate in an orderly way and dig up the coal that the enemy requires. But Orden demurs: he tells Colonel Lanser that while the people were orderly under their own government, which has been built for over 400 years, they may not be orderly under the invader's government. And when Orden is told that it is in the interests of the people to prevent them rebelling, and it is his responsibility to keep them safe, he demurs again.
Mayor Orden asked, 'But suppose they don't want to be safe?'
'Then you must think for them.'
Orden said, a little proudly, 'My people don't like to have others think for them. Maybe they are different from your people. I am confused, but that I am quite sure of." (p.14)

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2020/11/12/the-moon-is-down-by-john-steinbeck/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Nov 11, 2020 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (34 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
John Steinbeckprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Coers, Donald V.Inledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Guidall, GeorgeBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hemelrijk, TjebboÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Jonsson, Thorstenmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lie, NilsÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lieberman, FrankOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Low, WilliamOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Monicelli, GiorgioÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Novák, Jiří ZdeněkÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Orozco, Jose ClementIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Szinnai, Tivadarmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Originally published at the zenith of Nazi Germany's power, The Moon Is Down explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside and betrayal from within the close-knit community. As he delves into the motivations and emotions of the enemy, Steinbeck uncovers profound and often unsettling truths both about war and human nature.

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