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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.
Mary Ann B. (Louisville, KY)
Time does not forget
If you haven't read many stories about the Holocaust/World War 2 and the aftermath on the survivors, this book will be enjoyable. I did enjoy the book overall, but the writing seemed disjointed, and I struggled with the female character throughout the book.
Julie M. (Minnetonka, MN)
Predictable Good Holocaust Story
This was a good story of one family's journey through the Holocaust. Story had a good pace and kept me captivated enough to keep reading even though I suspected how it would probably end. Ben Solomon was the type of character you couldn't help but feel his pain and want to see the person who betrayed his family exposed and brought to justice.
Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)
Once We Were Brothers
A very powerful story and one of the best books that I've read recently. It depicts the lives of people in Poland before WWII in such a tender and sincere way. You feel as though you are part of their experiences and the morbidity of the situation isn't spelled out in a gruesome manner. The characters are all very strong. Ben remains steadfast in what he believes he knows. Catherine is willing to sacrifice her career for what she believes is the ethical thing to do. Elliot feels that money can buy him everything and everyone. Supporting characters added emotional substance to the story. The book has already been picked as a selection for a number of reading groups and you can envision the story being made into a compelling movie. Strongly recommended.
Diana J. (Highland Falls, NY)
Best book I've read all summer!
Once We Were Brothers is an impressive (I'm assuming) first offer by Mr Balson. It sucks you in from the first chapter and you will be up all night reading it. It follows a potential lawsuit, going back and forth between the past and the present as the two separate and then collide. Ben Solomon wants to sue a person he claims was once his 'brother' during pre-America's entry into WWII, who is now a wealthy philanthropist in Chicago. What we don't know is: Is the 'brother' who Ben Solomon says he is? and, Did he do the things Ben Solomon says he did? It follows a village in Poland from pre-Nazi takeover, through the end of WWII, into post-WWII and present Chicago. Compelling read--a mystery, with a historical lesson. We all know what happened, in an esoteric way, in Germany and the smaller East European countries under Hitler's rule, but after reading this, you will KNOW viscerally.
Nancy L. (Zephyrhills, FL)
A Story to Remember
I HIGHLY recommend it...you will not be sorry.
Wow! On a scale of 1 to 5, "Once We Were Brothers" is a 10 and I have been unable to put it down. Ronald Balson has created a deftly written story centered around an elderly Chicago man who is a concentration camp from Poland. He is determined to right a sixty year old wrong and unmask the man he believes is responsible for inflicting countless amounts of pain and suffering on Polish Jews. This is powerfully written with a beautifully moving plot line and well drawn characters. I won't soon be forgetting these characters and this emotional story!
Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)
This was a complete miss for me. First of all, the writing left a lot to be desired. The dialogue was excruciating, and the didactic nature of the 'testimony' was ham-handed. Secondly, there were too many things in the story that didn't seem plausible or understandable. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the characters were pretty well either all good or all bad which stuck me as over-simplistic and rather silly. Overall, the book reminded me of a bad propaganda film from the 1950s.
Vicky R. (Cumming, GA)
There have been hundreds of books written about the Holocaust....this one kept me spellbound. Historical fiction works best for me, as I like history interwoven with a story, a tale that draws me into the characters and makes me care about them...or despise them. I felt all of these things while gobbling up this book. The author excelled in his story-telling and I felt I knew Ben, the main character...and at the end, I loved him.