The Moon Is Down
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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 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.
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eleven.” “A time-minded people,” the doctor said. “They will be here on time. Do you want me to go away?” Mayor Orden looked startled. “Go? No—no, stay.” He laughed softly. “I’m a little afraid,” he said apologetically. “Well, not afraid, but I’m nervous.” And he said helplessly, “We have never been conquered, for a long time—” He stopped to listen. In the distance there was a sound of band music, a march. They all turned in its direction and listened. Madame said, “Here they come. I hope not
these tendencies and practices have been proven wrong in every single case since the beginning of the world.” Lanser laughed bitterly. “I, an individual man with certain memories, might agree with you, might even add that one of the tendencies of the military mind and pattern is an inability to learn, an inability to see beyond the killing which is its job. But I am not a man subject to memories. The coal miner must be shot publicly, because the theory is that others will then restrain
coal fire burning in it. It was a warm, poor, comfortable room, the floor covered with worn carpet, the walls papered in warm brown with an old-fashioned fleur-de-lis figure in gold. And on the back wall were two pictures, one of fish lying dead on a plate of ferns and the other of grouse lying dead on a fir bough. On the right wall there was a picture of Christ walking on the waves toward the despairing fishermen. Two straight chairs were in the room and a couch covered with a bright blanket.
talk, just a little bit?” Molly picked up her knitting. She looked quickly at the front door. “You can stay not more than fifteen minutes. Sit down a little, Lieutenant.” She looked at the door again. The house creaked. Tonder became tense and he said, “Is someone here?” “No, the snow is heavy on the roof. I have no man any more to push it down.” Tonder said gently, “Who did it? Was it something we did?” And Molly nodded, looking far off. “Yes.” He sat down. “I’m sorry.” After a moment he
distance from the controversy ignited by the publication of The Moon Is Down, it is clear that Fadiman, Thurber, and other critics who had prophesied its failure as propaganda were entirely wrong. Evidence of its success in Nazi-occupied Europe and in China is compelling: the dedication of those who translated, printed, and distributed it at considerable risk; the impressive number of editions and copies published—during the occupation, on makeshift machinery and under taxing conditions, as well