The Moon is Down, by John Steinbeck

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Every time I get down to Monterey I find myself thinking about John Steinbeck, who’s one of my very favorite authors, along with Vonnegut and Twain, and who, like them, captures some of the American voice that I really enjoy.

Anyway, I picked up a Steinbeck book I’d not read before: The Moon is Down. I don’t think many have read it here in the US — it’s a short (100 pages) book that was written near the start of WW2 as a piece of Allied propaganda; as a way of capturing the psychology of occupied and occupying populations. (It’s ironic that Steinbeck worked with the agencies that would become the CIA & such, given that he was branded as a communist/socialist by many in our government in years following.)

Anyway, the book was clearly written with an agenda here, and it’s easy to tell that. But I enjoyed it nonetheless; very good empathy with both populations, I thought. This book was translated by the resistance in many many countries in Europe during the war — it had a material impact on the movement in Norway & other regions. (He even received the Hakkon medal in Norway after the war.)

I’m glad to have read it — it’s unusual for a Steinbeck work for sure.

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