Download John Steinbeck as propagandist: The moon is down goes to war by Donald V. Coers PDF

By Donald V. Coers

In March 1942, a determined interval for the allies in international battle II, John Steinbeck released his propaganda novel The Moon is Down­—the tale of ruthless invaders who overrun a militarily helpless country.  in the course of the novel, Steinbeck underscored either the deadly weak spot of the “invincible” unnamed aggressors and the inherent energy of the human values shard by way of the “conquered” humans. The Moon is Down created an instantaneous sensation between American literary critics; fierce debate erupted over Steinbeck’s uncommonly sympathetic portrayal of the enemy and the novel’s energy as a automobile for propaganda.  Fifty years later, Coers keeps the controversy, depending seriously on unpublished letters and private interviews with the legal professionals, booklet purchasers, actors, publishers, and housewives linked to the resistance hobbies in Western Europe.  Clandestine translations of The Moon Is Down fast seemed and have been broadly circulated below the noses of the Gestapo.   Coers files the destiny of Steinbeck’s novel within the arms of worldwide warfare II resistance combatants and deepens our appreciation of Steinbeck’s specific skill to specific the sentiments of oppressed peoples.

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8 Nils Lie in the mid-1960s. (Courtesy of Gyldendal Norsk Forlag) Page 34 That the Norwegians in Sweden had The Moon Is Down translated before smuggling it into Norway attests to their confidence in its power to boost morale there. The time, labor, and expense involved precluded translation of all but a few carefully selected books; thus most reading matter arriving at the legation was simply sent along as received, in English or Swedish. 9 According to Oslo journalist and writer Arne Skouen, however, there was no doubt that The Moon Is Down deserved special treatment.

The action of the play occurs in a small mining town in Norway. " 3 The American edition of the play, published in 1942, makes no reference either to Norway or to a specific time. During the war Steinbeck himself encour- Page 32 aged the notion that he had intended a Norwegian setting, perhaps because Norwegians were so appreciative of what they perceived as sympathy for their plight. 6 Sometime before December 1942 a copy of The Moon Is Down, first published in the United States in March of that year, made its way to Stockholm.

4 On another occasion, Steinbeck and one of his scientist friends, Dr. M. H. Knisely, presented Roosevelt with a plan to undermine the economy of the Third Reich by flooding Germany with counterfeit money. 5 Twenty years after the war ended, Steinbeck joked about his rejected offers. In one of a series of articles he wrote for Weekend with Newsday, he says that, like Bernard Baruch, he was an adviser to presidents. "No one knows how much of Mr. Baruch's advice the Presidents took. "6 The author did, however, have some successes in his efforts to lend his talents to the fight against fascism.

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