Elliot Rosenzweig, a wealthy Chicago philanthropist, is attending opening night at the opera Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, makes his way through the crowd and shoves a gun in Rosenzweig s face, denouncing him as former SS officer, Otto Piatek Solomon is blind sided, knocked to the floor and taken away Rosenzweig uses his enormous influence to get SolomonElliot Rosenzweig, a wealthy Chicago philanthropist, is attending opening night at the opera Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, makes his way through the crowd and shoves a gun in Rosenzweig s face, denouncing him as former SS officer, Otto Piatek Solomon is blind sided, knocked to the floor and taken away Rosenzweig uses his enormous influence to get Solomon released from jail, but Solomon commences a relentless pursuit to bring Rosenzweig before the courts to answer for war crimes Solomon finds a young attorney, Catherine Lockhart, to whom he recounts his family s struggles and heroisms during the war, revealing to her that he and Piatek grew up as brothers in the same household Once We Were Brothers is a contemporary legal thriller and a poignant look back into the lives of small town Poland during World War II The author, Ronald H Balson, is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator and writer His practice has taken him to several international venues, including villages in Poland which have inspired this novel edited by author
Once We Were Brothers Elliot Rosenzweig a wealthy Chicago philanthropist is attending opening night at the opera Ben Solomon a retired Polish immigrant makes his way through the crowd and shoves a gun in Rosenzweig s f
In reading the reviews for this well written first novel I am totally aghast at the low scores that people are giving this outstanding novel I have written better reviews for books that are not even in the realm of this book Well written and historically accurate, the book gets into to your soul and you cannot put it down I read the entire 389 page book in less than 20 hours This book was not at all what I was expecting but as I read of it I became totally absorbed and engrossed not only about [...]
Once We Were Brothers to begin with was edited by someone without an understanding of punctuation, especially interjections That aside, if you have never heard of the Holocaust and need a quick but somewhat flawed understanding of the Holocaust in Poland during WWII and do not mind mixing your genocide with a modern day is he a Nazi or isn t he a Nazi accusation that involves a young lawyer and her soon to be SPOILER ALERT lover P.I then perhaps you will not find this book too offensive Balson w [...]
Say you just got back from the grocery store after witnessing a bickering couple argue to the point of near violence You want to tell someone, so you call up a friend How would you tell the story You might start by indicating how unnerved the incident left you and let them know the general shape of what happened You might say I just had the most horrible experience at the store and I m a little shook up There was this couple there and they were shouting at each other, I thought they were going t [...]
Really this is only a 1 1 2 star book and the half star is only because the concept of the story is intriguing Sadly the execution of telling the story is terrible This book reads like a cheesy predictable soap opera The characters are flat and under developed In fact most of the characters seem like the same person with different lines The amazing lawyer who solves the case and saves the day is portrayed as dimwitted and an emotional wreck As a reader I m supposed to believe that this highly ed [...]
5 STARSSENSATIONAL it would make a fabulous movie Took me a while to get into it, but after the midpoint, I couldn t put it down Well done And the narrator was fantastic.
We must never allow the world to forget Page 179That quote says it all, and Ben Solomon vowed to follow through on this edict, and he definitely was following through.ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS is a powerful, well researched first novel that will have you glued to the pages as Ben tells his story of hatred, horror, and the annihilation of his and other Jewish families during WWII.Telling the story of the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Poland was stressful for the 83 year old main character, Ben, b [...]
I m not inclined to pan a book, but here goesAt a very public event Ben Solomon, an 83 year old Polish concentration camp survivor living in Chicago, attacks Elliot Rosenzweig, a Chicago philanthropist Solomon claims that Rosenzweig is really Otto Piatek, a Nazi who stole Solomon s family s treasures To complicate matters, Piatek was Solomon s adoptive brother, left with Solomon s Jewish family by Piatek s down on their luck gentile parents In spite of hundreds of witnesses, Rosenzweig refuses t [...]
A compelling read Several issues raised by Balson resonate sharply with me as I work through similar issues in my own new novel.WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW,,, Ben hates his former friend and brother Otto for failing to save his parents and others from Nazi torture and murder but gives no credence to the enormous risks Otto did take to save Ben and his wife, the unsuccessful but still substantial efforts Otto made on behalf of others, and the numerous warnings he made for all of them to leave [...]
Wow This book was so good, it had everything, a good narrative, a good theme and very well written supportive characters as well as a good main character Is the one person who all know as the richest benefactor of the town secretly a Nazi war criminal who escaped Germany and has been in hiding for the last 60 years , Ben thinks so and in fact he thinks he knows that one man as a child that both his parents took care of when that child was abandoned by his parents in Poland , all because they cou [...]
I signed up for a chance to receive an advance readers copy of Once We Were Brothers through Good Reads and was lucky enough to be sent a copy The opening scene immediately grabbed me as an octogenarian dressed for his first trip to an opening night opera gala that he had paid 500 for but didn t plan to sit through He, instead, tucked a German Luger into his cumberbund and headed to the formal reception preceding the performance Although I made rather slow progress through roughly 3 4 of the boo [...]
This book reads like a screenplay, and I want to bet it becomes a movie I believe Chicago lawyer mr Balson has the wherewithal to make it happen It s called a legal thriller The thrill is perhaps in going through WWII with Ben We go back and forth in time as Ben tells his story to convince a young attorney than a very rich and prominent Chicago philanthropist is in reality a childhood friend of Ben s named Otto Piatek, who was abandoned by his parents and went to live with Ben s family Ben would [...]
Elliot Rosenzweig is a Chicago bigwig A philanthropist and major donor in many causes, Rosenzweig is on a first name basis with the mayor and other political figures When he is in attendance of a fundraiser in the opera a man approaches him with a gun and accuses him of being Otto Piatek, a Nazi officer during the war The man, Ben Solomon, is tackled and arrested and Rosenzweig denies this allegation Yet Ben Solomon is sure that this man was not just a Nazi but also his brother In the court of p [...]
Ben Solomon accuses one of the richest, most philanthropic men in Chicago of being the Nazi, Otto Pietak He gets a lawyer, Catherine, to bring a law suit against Mr Rosenzweig In a very deliberate way, over a period of several weeks he reveals to her what exactly Pietak did and why he wants justice after so many years It turns out that Ben s family raised Otto when his parents all but abandoned him and encouraged him to become a Nazi to help their family from the inside But Otto became enad of t [...]
A Must Read for anyone interested in the Holocaust One of my favorites As written on From Nazi occupied Poland to a Chicago courtroom Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser, Ben Solomon, is convinced he is right Solomon urges attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing th [...]
I have read dozens of Holocaust books and found this novel to be well written and captivating The author presented this story providing the reader with accurate and detailed background details of what happened during this horrific period in history For readers who know little of the Holocaust as well as for readers who DO know of the Holocaust, the author paints a picture of survival, determination and love Ben Solomon is an amiable man and is well read and intelligent He illustrates determinati [...]
Once we were brothers by Ronald H Balson is a novel with a compelling plot about two boys and a family that struggles to survive in war torn Poland It is also the story of a young lawyer who must face not only a powerful adversary, but her own self doubts Two lives, two worlds and sixty years all on course to collide in a fast paced legal thriller.The book s premise is extremely compelling, and the shifting events from present day Chicago to war torn Poland and back create an interesting narrati [...]
One of the best audio books I have listened to I loved this book and would classify as a WWII Crime Thriller I look forward to in this series.
This was a compelling book and I stayed up late to finish it, but I thought it would have been much better if there were nuance to the good Jews and bad Nazis theme For example, what was going on with Otto s transformation from son in the family to evil Nazi Did he always feel like an outsider Slighted by not being part of the family Did he suffer for his decision to shoot the father, or did he feel that he was saving him from torture Also, am I the only one who finds it difficult to swallow th [...]
I ve read a lot of books, both fiction and non fiction, set in this time period and this just failed to pack a comparable punch The premise was good and the ideas for characters were good, but the characters themselves were one dimensional I didn t feel much for any of them, which is pretty unfortunate in a Holocaust tale I also didn t care at all for the structure of the book It was told in flashback from the point of view of the central character, but the author chose to do this with constant [...]
I LOVED THIS BOOK Ben was such a dear heart The way this story unfolded was like a historical fiction, courtroom thriller It was so good
This is a beautiful and powerful story based on the reality of what happened in the city of Zamosc, Poland in the 1930 s and 1940 s when Hitler rose to power in Germany and began the persecution of Jews in Europe It is quite different in the way it covers the material Ben Solomon and his Jewish family took in a Gentile child named Otto Piatek and raised him as their own son from 1933 on because his father was out of work and the German mom left Poland for her native Germany The Solomon father fo [...]
A Scheherazade plot that draws you in, culminating in a legal thriller Dollops of history that go down easily with the action What s not to like Well, for starters, some pretty bad writing For example, violation of what I call the guffaw principle, by which I mean that if an author latches onto a word like guffaw, or maybe it s some unhappy phrase that s repeated, it is going to be an irritant Then there are characters who are types than individuals and who are made to give voice to the moral o [...]
Did I enjoy this book I did not.About five years ago I stumbled across a wonderful little Jewish Deli in Pittsburgh, PA I chatted with the elderly spitfire of a clerk behind the counter before deciding on my order When I saw his hand reach for the cash register, I winced For the first time in my life I saw the obscene green numbers tattooed on the inside of someone s forearm I immediately knew what they were I d read about them in school but seeing them on a living, breathing, human bundle of en [...]
I was really looking forward to reading this, however, the story and its characters lacked feeling About 3 4 of the way through I did finally glimpse some of the emotion that I was looking for The premise was a really good one, I just really was expecting it to grab me and, sadly, it didn t.
A gripping read with a brilliant premise that kept me guessing until the end.
Another lawyer turned writerIt took me a while to get into this novel The characters were not coming across with any authenticity The story at times seemed unrealistic The present day setting not the historical past However, at about the midpoint this turned into quite I cannot put it down and one chapter book.Elliot Rosenzweig is a wealthy Chicago philanthropist and is attending the opening night at the opera when Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, makes his way through the crowd and put [...]
My mother, who barely escaped prewar Poland, recommended this book for its historical accuracy I trust her assessment, and the book certainly paints a detailed and vivid picture of a way of life and its destruction My mother was less concerned with the book s merit as a novel which is where, for me, it falls somewhat short.There are two timelines, and the historical narrative is by far the better of the two, though the device of having it told in the present does not always work well The charact [...]
This book was such a complete surprise A truly compelling tale I could not put it down I know that this is one of those books that will always stay with me I will remember the characters years from now I know it is fiction, but the author s descriptions of Poland before and during WWII are so well written, you just know there was tons of research I am amazed at the layers in the story It s a love story, historical novel, a legal thriller and a mystery And the themes that run through the book are [...]
No real review, just a reaction I did get past the half way point DNF This writing is not for me No depth to the Chicago characters who must have seen quite a bit, especially those who are 80 plus It s like a screenplay for a possible movie Much like a formula plot and holding an extremely flat overdone context No real people in this one for me There were aspects of the Polish locations and reality that were fictionalized incorrectly and absurdly considering the subject matter and time Polish of [...]
Ben Solomon risks everything to expose Jewish financiar and philanthropist Elliott Rosenzweig as an escaped Nazi, Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc Soloman s lawyer Catherine is also taking a risk in her comeback career in taking on old man who seems to have nothing but memories.What might be a great premise is bogged down Catherine must not have taken any history classes in her formal education allowing Ben to not only tell his story but the story of many Polish Jews to increase her understand [...]