A Summer Vacation from Reality

My wife and I have three boys (5 and under), which makes vacations challenging, to say the least.  Sometimes, the easiest vacation around is one led by the prose of familiar authors.

First on my nightstand was a novella by John Steinbeck.  I became familiar with Steinbeck in high school, thanks to Mr. Schievert, when I read Of Mice and Men.  I learned to appreciate his descriptive and straight-forward writing.  I found myself getting lost in his novels, and I used to regularly read Travels with Charlie every summer.  This summer, I looked for a Steinbeck novel I had not read, and I stumbled upon The Moon is Down. Donald Coers details Steinbeck’s involvement in WWII propaganda nicely in his book, John Steinbeck Goes to War: The Moon is Down as Propaganda, which you can read most of on Google Books.

This short novella details the German occupation of a town, presumably in Northern Europe not far from Britain and how the citizens of the town react.  The book was written, purposefully, to be a propaganda piece, and it was widely published and circulated in Europe during World War II.

For students of history, especially resistance against oppression, and for those who love the works of Steinbeck, I highly recommend this book.  You may, like me, find you are the first to get it off the shelf at your local library.  The thrill of reading a well-written, largely undiscovered treasure will add a little more joy to the end of your summer.

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