Views & Reviews Between the Lines

No room for Plato

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:963
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    In 1942, when it was not yet certain that Germany would lose the war, John Steinbeck wrote a short novel entitled The Moon Is Down in which a small town in an unnamed country is occupied by an equally unnamed foreign army. At first the occupiers are relatively polite and considerate, but as the hostility of the townspeople to them becomes more evident and active, so they become more brutal. Steinbeck, it seems, was imperfectly informed about Hitler at the time, for he reports that “the leader,” back in the occupiers’ capital, is allergic to dogs and therefore shuns them, whereas in fact Hitler was very passionately fond of Blondi, his Alsatian, and always kept him near.

    The two most prominent …

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