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Bestsellers over the Years

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Edited: Dec 14, 2007, 9:42am Top

I recall a friend having some old books that were published during the war years that carried a notice that they were printed in smaller type in an effort to conserve paper for the war.

1. The Song of Bernadette, Franz Werfel 99 copies on LT

2. The Moon Is Down, John Steinbeck 501 copies

3. Dragon Seed, Pearl S. Buck 123 copies

4. And Now Tomorrow, Rachel Field 1 copy

5. Drivin' Woman, Elizabeth Pickett 3 copies

6. Windswept, Mary Ellen Chase 8 copies

7. The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas 455 copies

8. The Sun Is My Undoing, Marguerite Steen 12 copies

9. Kings Row, Henry Bellamann 37 copies

10. The Keys of the Kingdom, A. J. Cronin 105 copies

I remember reading The Robe in high school after I saw the movie which I think starred Victor Mature. I saw the movie version of the Song of Bernadette which I believe featured Vincent Price.

Dec 14, 2007, 10:03am Top

I have 1, 2, 7, and 9. I have read All This and Heaven, Too and Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, but not this one. I read Kings Row a long time ago: racist, misogynist, and just plain weird, as I recall. The movie is much better!

Dec 17, 2007, 12:46am Top

A lot of these are familiar, but the only one I've read is Song of Bernadette.

Dec 17, 2007, 2:18am Top

I've only read The Moon is Down, which I recommend.

Edited: Mar 14, 2008, 11:10am Top


1. See Here, Private Hargrove, Marion Hargrove 23 copies on LT

2. Mission to Moscow, Joseph E. Davies 17 copies

3. The Last Time I Saw Paris, Elliot Paul 27 copies

4. Cross Creek, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings 179 copies

5. Victory Through Air Power, Major Alexander P. de Seversky 21 copies

6. Past Imperfect, Ilka Chase 6 copies

7. They Were Expendable, W. L. White 41 copies

8. Flight to Arras, Antoine de St. Exupéry 146 copies

9. Washington Is Like That, W. M. Kiplinger 2 copies

10. Inside Latin America, John Gunther 20 copies

Apr 16, 2008, 4:42pm Top

I enjoyed reading The Robe (my father's name was Lloyd C. Douglass so we had to have the novels around the house as conversation pieces:-), also read Keys of the Kingdom by Cronin. Still have copies of both books but I'm unlikely to reread them. They have a gentle prose and moral (actually, Christian) tone that, frankly, seems dated.

Apr 16, 2008, 4:57pm Top

I think I HAVE the Moon is Down somewhere...I guess I'll have to dig it up and read it.

Apr 23, 2008, 1:00pm Top

Zero for me

Edited: Oct 21, 2009, 4:13pm Top

I own and have read both The Keys of the Kingdom and They Were Expendable. I also recently found a Norwegian language translation of The Moon is Down. Can't read it in Norwegian, but it's a beautiful copy of the book.

They Were Expendable is a harrowing account of the U.S. forces left behind to defend the Philippines from the impending Japanese invasion in the weeks right after Pearl Harbor. The book was made into a movie directed by John Ford, starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne and released in 1945. The wikipedia entry for the movie says, "While both book and film depict actions which did not occur, they were believed to be real during the war and the film is noted for its verisimilitude."

There is a terrific review/essay on the book here: http://www.amazon.com/They-Were-Expendable-Bluejacket-Books/dp/1557509484. Scoll down to the review by Edison McIntyre.

Oct 22, 2009, 1:18pm Top

This is the correct Touchstone for: And Now Tomorrow. There are now 10 of them in LT.

Tomorrow's House (the incorrect Touchstone)was a book written in 1945 for people dreaming of a post-war new home. I wonder if it predicted the growth of suburbs in the USA?

Aug 24, 2013, 1:22am Top

The moon is down
Finished reading: 6 April 2012

Readers and commentators make a lot noise about the didactic value of The moon is down, and apparently originally regretted that Steinbeck portrays the oppressors in the book as human rather than monstrous. It seems these commentators forget that literature often serves a didactic purpose, intentionally or unintentionally.

The moon is down tells the story how a village is conquered and occupied by a alien army force, which then puts the villagers to work to extract coal to support the needs of the occupying army. The story is wryly humourous. The oppressors are portrayed as civilised and orderly, but rigid and cruel when met with opposition. However, they are powerless against subtle resistance and refusal to be liked. As resentment among the oppressed rises, the populace is increasingly willing to run risks and extend its actions from passive resistance to active resistance, to repel the oppressor, and deal serious blow upon blow.

The didactic value of the novel lies in the fact that it shows how anyone can take part in passive resistance and which roads are open and possible to both passive and active resistance. Portraying the oppressor as human makes it possible to understand and see the possible weaknesses of that oppressor. An enemy who is perceived as superhuman, can not be understood, only feared. The novel convincingly shows which possibilities people have in a situation like that; to readers in Nazi occupied Europe, the parallels between their situation and the novel would be evident. As the overall tone of the novel is optimistic, it would be enjoyable to read, and instructive at the same time.

With hindsight, knowing or assuming the oppressor to be the Nazis, the novel is an interesting read that illustrates the situation of war-like occupation, as is known from many novels and history books, written after the war.

Other books I have read by John Steinbeck:
Burning bright
The acts of King Arthur and his noble knights
The wayward bus
The winter of our discontent

Group: Bestsellers over the Years

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