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Steinbeck never ceases to amaze. This was an excellent short novel illustrating the struggle of mankind against oppression. Simply told, the story of what happens when a small town in Europe is invaded by Nazi oppressors. The invaders come in with the mindset that the villagers will be willing to assist in operating the coal mine and supporting them. Wrong! As quoted by the mayor in the book "the one impossible job in the world that can't be done is to break men's spirit permanently." As the soldiers learned, they were like "flies conquering the flypaper."