Book: The Moon is Down

Title: The Moon is Down
Author: John Steinbeck
Genre: Fiction
Length: 112 pgs

Summary: Written during the height of Nazi Germany’s power, this book is about the invasion and betrayal of a small European town. A mechanized army, working on a time table and having no concept of defeat, walks into the town and takes control with little-to-no conflict. This book shares the events that happens after the takeover.

pg 3 – And Joseph went about testing each of the gilded chairs to see whether it had moved since he had last placed it. Joseph habitually scowled at furniture, expecting it to be impertinent, mischievous, or dusty. In a world where Mayor Orden was the leader of men, Joseph was the leader of furniture, silver, and dishes.

pg 3 – “They hurry toward their destiny as though it would not wait. They push the rolling world along with their shoulders.”

pg 21 – Lieutenants Prackle and Tonder were snot-noses, undergraduates, lieutenants, trained in the politics of the day, believing the great new system invented by a genius so great that they never bothered to verify its results. They were sentimental men, given to tears and furies.

Why should you read this book?
To be honest, I never liked Steinbeck. I had to read The Pearl in high school and hated it, for reasons I can’t quite remember today. I just finished reading this book for my European history class, and found myself inexplicably fighting tears by the end of it. The prose is simple, succinct, and touching because of its simplicity. Steinbeck does a credible job of making you, the reader, care about both the conquered and the conquering. Really, the true enemy in this book never makes an actual appearance to the stage…which seems to be a recurring theme in war, I suppose. In any case, give this book a try. It’s short, something you could probably finish in a couple of hours. And note the lack of adverbs and unnecessary adjectives. Simple tricks like that make for powerful writing.