Since this is propaganda, I wasn't sure about reading this. I'm suspicious of anything written for political reasons, but this got such good reviews that I figured I'd try it.
The setting is left vague, hinting at European background. The town is small, with a man-of-the-people as their mayor and coal as their main source of income. Interestingly, Steinbeck doesn't demonize the origin-less "invaders." They miss their homes, they dislike the animosity of their conquered people, and they want the war to be over as much as anyone else. But they also desperately justify their actions, and use violence to keep the fear away.
The political sway was a little intense for my taste, but this was written during the midst of World War II, so I guess it was supposed to be. The dialogue was a little dry, and the characters were simplified, so this wasn't as good as some of Steinbeck's other work. The story was still interesting and there were some great lines here about war, but overall the story was a little lackluster.