The Moon Is Down

The Moon Is Down

4.3 49
by John Steinbeck
     
 

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Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside—and betrayal born within the close-knit community

In this masterful tale set in Norway during World War II, Steinbeck explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. As he delves into the emotions of the German commander and

Overview

Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside—and betrayal born within the close-knit community

In this masterful tale set in Norway during World War II, Steinbeck explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. As he delves into the emotions of the German commander and the Norwegian traitor, and depicts the spirited patriotism of the Norwegian underground, Steinbeck uncovers profound, often unsettling truths about war—and about human nature.

Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck’s self-described “celebration of the durability of democracy” had an extraordinary impact as Allied propaganda in Nazi-occupied Europe. Despite Axis efforts to suppress it (in Fascist Italy, mere possession of the book was punishable by death), The Moon is Down was secretly translated into French, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian and Russian; hundreds of thousands of copies circulated throughout Europe, making it by far the most popular piece of propaganda under the occupation. Few literary works of our time have demonstrated so triumphantly the power of ideas in the face of cold steel and brute force. This edition features an introduction by Donald V. Coers.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
John Steinbeck knew and understood America and Americans better than any other writer of the twentieth century. (The Dallas Morning News) A man whose work was equal to the vast social themes that drove him. (Don DeLillo)"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140187465
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1995
Series:
Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
127,150
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
John Steinbeck knew and understood America and Americans better than any other writer of the twentieth century. (The Dallas Morning News) A man whose work was equal to the vast social themes that drove him. (Don DeLillo)"

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
 
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
 
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942).Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright(1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
 
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961),Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata!(1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
 
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. 

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 27, 1902
Date of Death:
December 20, 1968
Place of Birth:
Salinas, California
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Education:
Attended Stanford University intermittently between 1919 and 1925
Website:
http://www.steinbeck.org

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The Moon Is Down 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Janus More than 1 year ago
Simply a masterpiece. A review cannot do this work of literature justice. Steinbeck's perfect prose and amazing understanding of humanity and its civilizations make this one of the most eerily realistic works of fiction I have ever read. The characters are essentially: The Conquerors and The Conquered. Each possessing of an array of different people with different personalities and quirks. It's a short, easy read that is as enjoyable as literature as it is a piece of commentary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Moon Is Down is an inspiring tale that illustrates both sides of a war. The Nazis act as if they are in control of the situation, but because they are concentrating on the war so intensely, they have no idea how it is affecting them. The soldiers begin to become terrorized by the war. I like how John Steinbeck shows empathy for these men of war and prove that underneath their rugged uniform is just another human being with human qualities. I found it boring how Steinbeck just directly stated the characters' personalities and what their history was. It would've made the book more interesting if Steinbeck gave inferences and let you draw your own conclusions about the characters. I especially enjoyed Steinbeck twist in his story when the soldiers turned into the victims and the citizens became the villains and made the soldiers fear them. I felt that Mayor Orden is the ideal politician that all politicians should strive to become. He shows zero trepidation when the soldiers are entering his house and he never made a single move without the consent of what the townspeople would want. As they are holding a gun to his head and are about to kill him he still never gives in to what the Nazis want. The thing that I found to be very strange was the amount of trust that the citizens had in Mayor Orden. Never did they once test his leadership skills. Even in today's society this is extremely unlikely. There are usually a few people who are on both sides to what the government is doing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would consider this novel a great work by author John Steinbeck. Though it may come across as overly simplistic at first, it is this simplicity that makes it so deep. The novel depicts both sides of war, that of the conquerors and the conquered. The novel, which was written as anti-Nazi propaganda, surprisingly depicts the German soldiers as human beings with feelings just like the villagers, as opposed to cruel heartless savages. In my opinion this is what makes the book so spectacular. By depicting the Nazis as normal people, it gives the novel a greater sense of reality and allows the reader to feel more of a relation to the characters. Not only do the Nazis have feelings, but more importantly, they have weaknesses too. Steinbeck describes their fear of the townspeople and how, though they are the individuals conquering the town, they are frightened of its inhabitants and wish to return home. I find this to be quite an interesting and effective approach in the work. In most cases, propaganda would depict the enemy as a villain, but Steinbeck depicts them as nothing more than weak, unstable individuals, giving his readers a feeling of confidence. Also, in an effort to help his readers relate to the book, the story takes place in an unnamed town in an unnamed country. This is quite ingenious because it allows any reader to see themselves in the story. The novel itself is essentially about nothing more than the two viewpoints of war, but the method which this is done is what makes it a masterpiece. Steinbeck¿s way of depicting neither side as an enemy is masterful and unique making the novel a piece to be not only enjoyed but respected.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is excellent because it shows a world inwhich there are no 'evil' people even in times of war. Steinbeck makes the towns people develop. He has motifs and archetypes in his novels. The novel has a lot of action making it interesting to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Has anybody else noticed that Steinbeck's fable of occupation and resistance sounds a lot like what must be going on in Iraq these days? How ironic that America, once the liberator, is now the occupier. As i read this short novel, I could imagine U.S. soldiers in Baghdad experiencing similar feelings as the Nazi soldiers -- I appreciate how Steinbeck compassionately painted their humanity too, as well as their cruelty. War does indeed to horrible things to everybody, on all sides. Excellent read.
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DeDeFlowers More than 1 year ago
I thought The Moon Is Down was just alright. I definitely prefer Steinbeck's 'America' books that take place in the west. While this novella was enjoyable, I didn't connect to it the way I do with most of his other work.
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WTVCrimeDawg More than 1 year ago
I love John Steinbeck's writing, and this book, one of his many contributions to the war effort, displays his style, humanity, and ability to vividly describe people and emotions and places and machines. It's obvious propaganda, but serves as great fiction as well. Anything by Steinbeck is a quality read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Moon Is Down is a unique and interesting look at the situation of World War 2. It does not villainize or stereotype. Instead, it shows that all people, average citizens and Nazis alike, are subject to human emotion and human weakness. Some critics criticized Steinbeck for making the Nazis too human, and not evil enough. I disagree. The Nazis did horrible, unforgivable things, but they were still people, and showing them as such makes the book more realistic. Because the characters are shown as real people with real faults and imperfections, it is easy to believe that what happens in the book could actually have occured. Indeed, many people reading the book in other countries at the time were suprised at how well Steinbeck depicts their situation. One thing I did not like about the book was that it failed to adress the persecution of the Jewish communities in Germany, and the countries taken over by Germany. I think that this is a very important issue that should not have been overlooked.