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The German invasion of Denmark and Norway in 1940 prompted John Steinbeck to begin a story about a conquered town and the psychological effects of occupation. "The Moon Is Down" was published as a novella and staged in 1942. In 1943 a film version was released by 20th Century Fox. It was arguably the most widely read and seen piece of American propaganda of the entire Second World War. It appeared not only in Allied and neutral countries, but within occupied Europe it was clandestinely translated and published in eight different nations. The work inspired resistance to Nazism and assured those who had been conquered that there were free people who understood the horrors of fascism and were ready to help.
In each of the stories in this volume Steinbeck�s book or play intersects with collaborators, resistance fighters, victims or by-standers in ways that change their lives. Set in the year in which the book or play first appeared in that language, the situations and events are historical, but (most of) the characters and plots are fictional. These are possible pasts, but who�s to say they didn�t really happen?