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The Moon Is Down (1942)

por John Steinbeck

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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2,848923,622 (3.82)1 / 318
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.… (mais)
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    Suite Française por Irène Némirovsky (chrisharpe)
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  4. 00
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This was written seventy-six years ago and it is still relevant today! "Flies conquer flypaper" ( )
  BillGour | Mar 24, 2021 |
1942 wartime novel where the unnamed enemy invade a British island (I'm thinking Germans on Channel Islands?)
We get to know the Germans- the indoctrinated rule follower, the depressed one, struggling with the silent hatred of the locals.
And, too, the locals- the traitor, the quietly courageous..
And the overarching message that whatever the invaders do to individuals, they can't stop the uprising:
"They know that ten heads lopped off will destroy them, but we have people, and in a time of need leaders pop up among us like mushrooms."
In a time of gov control and censorship...and with more enlightened folk every day refusing to comply with covid lies, this felt a really relevant book... ( )
2 vote starbox | Mar 13, 2021 |
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 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (34 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
John Steinbeckautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Coers, Donald V.Introduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Guidall, GeorgeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hemelrijk, TjebboTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jonsson, Thorstenautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lie, NilsTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lieberman, FrankArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Low, WilliamArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Monicelli, GiorgioTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Novák, Jiří ZdeněkTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Orozco, Jose ClementIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Szinnai, Tivadarautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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They think that just because they have only one leader and one head, we are all like that. They know that ten heads lopped off will destroy them, but we are a free people; we have as many heads as we have people, and in a time of need leaders pop up among us like mushrooms.
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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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