The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck

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The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck
Book Review by Andrew Gimlich
1/20/03 

 "Without warning the Nazis invaded the town.  They seized the mayor's home as their headquarters; they rationed the food; they publicly shot the first men who rebelled against their oppression.  They were the conquerors.  But the hatred was deep in the eyes of the people. Their cold, sullen silence fell like black snow, chilling the soldiers and filling them with fear. And as the conquerors' nerves wore thin, they shot at black shadows in the night"

In this chilling description of a town being over run by Nazi invaders Steinbeck makes one feel as if they were right next to the town's small troop of twelve when the machine gun bullets took half their men.  The words transport themselves from page directly to imagination.  Every word, every phrase brings to life startling images of oppression and the Nazi war machine.  Without warning they came and changed everything in the town forever. When they came they take over, totally demolishing any structure of power the town once had.  They destroy as quickly as they came: shooting scores of people, military and civilians alike.  If you fall out of line you are subject to their bullets. The helmeted men bring with them grey everywhere they go. In this novel Steinbeck seems to be trying to answer the question of how tangible freedom really is.  In the first three pages of the book all the townspeople's freedom were stripped away by the new occupiers. The village is transported from a state of freedom and prosperity to a war zone and an occupied territory.  The Moon is Down is a beautiful example of freedom taken from innocents, and their struggle to get it back.  Steinbeck captures all the anger, all the fear, all the uncertainty, all the determination of a village pushed to the brink by a foreign force.  Mr. Steinbeck does an excellent job showing a reader everything one goes through when one's freedom is taken away by a foreign...
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