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Publisher's Summary

"Free men cannot start a war, but once it is started, they can fight on in defeat." This compelling, dignified and moving novel was inspired by and based upon the Nazi invasion of neutral Norway. Set in an imaginary European mining town, it shows what happens when a ruthless totalitarian power is up against an occupied democracy with an overwhelming desire to be free.
©1942; 1970 John Steinbeck; Elaine A Steinbeck, Thom Steinbeck, John Steinbeck IV (P)2011 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kelly on 05-08-17

A beautiful piece of propaganda!

This year I determined to read the classics -- and that gave me the gift of reading John Steinbeck! Now I am on a mission to read everything he has written. I will tell you right up front -- I love Steinbeck. This is my 8th book of his that I have read in less than two months. I like the attention he gives to every detail when describing his characters and settings. I love the simplicity with which he writes. I love that he can describe the worst of life but make it a beautiful exploration of social norms and values. And I think I also really like him -- not the author, the person. I like how much he desired to know people. I like his views on how we treat one another. I like him. So, my review may be biased. :)

This book was written for a purpose: to encourage people to stand up to evil and oppression. And it actually served that purpose. During WWII it was a best seller in many places, including France. And it was banned by the Germans. And now, 70 years later it stands up to the test of time. It should still remind us all not to allow a tyrant in; that when the tyrant takes control we should not stay silent; that we should always use our voices and our talents to object to the things we see that are evil or wrong.

In the early 1980s, during the cold war, I served in the USAF. I was taught a lot about the evils of propaganda. I was taught about the hatred it spews. I was taught about its inherent vices. But I never saw an example of a positive and beautiful piece of propaganda. Until now.

Having shared all my raves you may wonder why I didn't give the book 5 stars. I think there are two reasons. First, I am comparing it to The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and Travels with Charley and it isn't quite as good. Second, I hated the ending. It felt like I was missing at least one chapter. It felt like a non-ending. Some may like this aspect, but I hated it and it resulted in the loss of one star.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By J. Reese on 08-09-17

my new all-time favorite

riveting from the opening paragraph to the closing line with no let downs between. perfect book, both in story and in writing style, read perfectly by Guidall. I can't believe this is the same author who wrote Grapes of Wrath, which I put down after a few chapters out of boredom... this book is nothing like Grapes.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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