Title: The Moon is Down
Author: John Steinbeck
On the Shelves: Fiction> Classic/Historical Fiction/Historical
Originally published at the zenith of Nazi Germany’s power, Steinbeck’s fable “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.
This is my second novel of Steinbeck’s and I have to say, I’m kind of on the fence about it. On the one hand, I emjoyed it more than I did Of Mice and Men. On the other hand, I found it quite short and wished that it had been in more depth and detail. The Moon is Down angered a lot of the vicious regimes that were around at the time of it’s publication. This novel is pure, American propaganda. The introduction tells you think- the whole reason this story was published, was to act as a sort of light in the darkness to those being oppressed by the Nazis and other dictators…and it was successful. It was smuggled all over Europe. People risked their lives to read this book. If that isn’t enough of a reason to pick this up and try it, then I don’t know what is!
I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump this month, with moving cities for a new job, the first time I’ve ever moved out on my own- so reading fell onto the back burner for me a bit-this book was only 150 pages and it still took me a month to read- but I’m glad I took my time with it, to be honest. I didn’t want to read it half heartedly, and rushed. It needed to have it’s own dedicated time where I could sit and read and concentrate on exactly what messages were being sent from Steinbeck, in the hopes of helping the oppressed thousands feel less alone. I’m not saying this book is perfect, by any means, and I really do feel like it could have been a few chapters longer. But I can appreciate how this novel worked as a piece of propaganda, and how it may have influenced many people’s personal actions during tough times.
I think I enjoyed reading Of Mice and Men more, but I did also enjoy The Moon is Down too, and I recommend it to anyone who is wanting to read more of Steinbeck’s work, or to anyone who enjoys stories set around the events of World War 2.