Advance reader reviews of Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson.

Once We Were Brothers

By Ronald H. Balson

Once We Were Brothers
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Oct 2013,
    400 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 2 of 4
There are currently 23 member reviews
for Once We Were Brothers
Order Reviews by:
  • Sarah W. (Lufkin, TX)


    Once We Were Brothers
    Once We Were Brothers is the story of a survivor of World War II and war-torn Poland. It is told in segments as the protagonist relates his story to his attorney. It gives details of the Nazi invasion of a small town in Poland, a family who lives in the town, two boys who grew up together as brothers, in that family, and the different roles they play as adults. The talented author succeeds in a well-written novel, making the reader live the story. This reader was impressed with the historical accuracy of the setting and made me not want to put it down until it was finished. The author, Ronald H. Balson, is a well-traveled attorney, an educator and a writer who became interested in the small villages of Poland making him decide to write this novel.

    Once We Were Brothers will make a great read for book clubs.
  • Lynn R. (Wautoma, WI)


    Brothers
    I found this book a very easy read. I enjoyed the characters, the story line and the ending very much. The only reason that I gave this book a 4 rather than a 5 was because some of the escapes from the Nazis were unbelievable. I obviously did not live during that time period of WWII Poland so I don't know exactly how easy or hard some of these situations were, but I just felt that the author simplified in this area. I still would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good historical novel and especially to book clubs.
  • Laureen S. (Aurora, IL)


    Average Book About the Holocaust
    Maybe it's because I just recently finished A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True (which is also about Poland during WWII and one of the best books I have ever read),but I was somewhat disappointed in Once We Were Brothers. I had high expectations for the book of which it fell short especially in the beginning. About three quarters of the way through it did pick up; however, I still felt at the end that I didn't know the characters as well as I had hoped I would. Additionally, I occasionally found portions of the book a little unbelievable with respect to all the escapes and rescues. Overall, I have read better books about this time period, but I have also read worse.
  • Barbara F. (Saint Louis, MO)


    Please LIsten To Me
    Interesting conversation is not always right at hand, but the conversational style of this book hooked me.
    If you are interested in the Holocaust, and you are not a purist and do not mind a good story, along with the facts, then historical fiction is a good bet for you.. Angst, rage, honesty, empathy, loyalty and persistence are ever present in the pages.
    I would recommend this book for a thoughtful read and I am quite sure book clubs would find plenty to digest and discuss.
  • Ginny H. (Troutdale, OR)


    Once We Were Brothers
    This is an provocative story of two boys who grew up together in Poland prior to World War II. Ben Solomon is Jewish and ends up in a Nazi concentration camp during the war. Otto Piatek lived with Ben's family until his parents felt it was politically dangerous for him to be living with Jews and he chooses a different path as a Nazi. Fast forward 60 years and Ben seeks to prove that a wealthy and revered Jewish benefactor living under an alias is indeed Otto and that he not only destroyed Ben's family but committed many other war crimes. I couldn't put this book down and finished it during the middle of the night.
  • Joe S. (Port Orange, FL)


    Once We Were Brothers
    I had high expectations when I started this book but soon became disappointed. I found myself becoming confused and irritated when the story was becoming intense and interesting and the lawyer would interrupt and ask the narrator if he would like a cup of tea. The actions of the survivors trying to escape from the Nazi's did not seem at all believable nor was someone in 1940 Nazi occupied Poland naming his horse Buttermilk after Dale Evan's horse on the Roy Rogers show.
  • Cheryl W. (Cassville, MO)


    Once We Were Brothers
    Although the premise of the story was interesting, a holocaust survivor filing a civil suit against a former Nazi, I found the story to be predictable and cliche. The dialogue between the characters was not as well written as it could have been. The narrative from the protagonist at times seemed to be descriptions of scenes from Holocaust films. It was an ok book, I wanted to finish it to see if I had the correct prediction of the ending. I did. I would recommend it if someone wanted to read an easy, light historical fiction.
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  158The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O O T F P, Into T F

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.