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Comment: LIBRARY RESCUE! This is a former library book with the typical markings and stickers of a library book. Fully intact, fully readable. Packed and shipped by AMAZON!
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My Brother's Shadow Hardcover – September 27, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Readers who are aware of the aftermath closing in on Moritz and his family will feel a chill looming over his romance with a Jewish neighbor and the illusory nature of the family's brief respite after the war.” ―BCCB

“A good choice for sharing across the curriculum, this is a novel readers will want to discuss.” ―Booklist

“In this nuanced and realistic work of historical fiction, Schröder (Saraswati's Way) immerses readers in her setting with meticulous details and dynamic characters that contribute to a palpable sense of tension. Moritz's intimate narration captures the conflicts, divided loyalties, and everyday horrors of the period.” ―Publishers Weekly

“ 'War gives meaning to some men's lives. For other men, the experience of war extinguishes all meaning in life,' says a man who becomes Moritz's mentor; Schröder makes this sad and ever-timely lesson all too clear.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“The sorrow and the pity of World War I haunt every page of this unsparing coming-of-age story set in Berlin during the war's final days. Monika Schröder skillfully sketches in the fractured political background of a disintegrating imperial Germany. She doesn't miss a beat in her fast-paced first-person narrative as sixteen-year-old Moritz copes with his family's misfortunes, finds his calling, and discovers love. I found the innocence of the meetings between Moritz and Rebecca particularly affecting, and because she happens to be Jewish, the story ends on a note of foreboding. This is a memorable and instructive novel.” ―Russell Freedman, Newbery-award winning author of The War to End All Wars: World War I

About the Author

Monika Schröder grew up in Germany and has worked as an elementary school teacher and librarian in American international schools in Egypt, Oman, Chile and India. She now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her husband and their dog, Frank. My Brother's Shadow is her third novel.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 740 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1 edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374351228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374351229
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Set in Berlin in 1918, in the final days of World War I, this new novel tells the story of sixteen-year old Moritz, whose family's existence, like that of everyone else in Germany, has been ravaged by the effects of the seemingly endless war. His father was killed on the battlefield, his older brother, Hans, is serving in the trenches on the Western front, his little sister has died of illness, and his mother spends all her time either working at an ammunition factory or attending socialist party meetings. There's little to eat, with food rationed, and everything tasting of turnips, and people butchering horses who fall dead in the streets. Moritz, who works as an apprentice printer, tries his best to make sense of it all, wondering who is right--his brother, who says it's an honor to serve the Kaiser, or his mother, who bemoans the fact that her husband "died for our foolish Kaiser, who loves his uniforms and his yachts." Soon Moritz is given a chance to work as a journalist for one of Berlin's daily papers, covering the very socialist rallies where his mother and others are speaking out against the Kaiser and capitalist injustice.

When Moritz's brother Hans returns from the front with horrible injuries, missing half his arm and blind in one eye, Hans is plagued by nightmares about the war, and sees the Jews as scapegoats for all of Germany's problems. Morris, on the other hand, is having his first romance--with a Jewish girl. The book's ominous conclusion foreshadows the increasing persecution of the Jews that will happen in Germany during the 1930's.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not sure what it is about German history that I love but I enjoy reading books about it. My father was stationed there after the wall went up. He used to talk about the beauty of the country and the Black Forest. I have been real interested in anything to do with Berlin as well. This is the first book I have read that occurred before Hitler. I learned a lot. If you want to read something about German History then you need to pick up books by this author. She is able to take history and craft a story based on historical events that will stay with you a long time.

I could not imagine what Hans' life must have been like. He was raised to believe in his Kaiser. His father fought for the Kaiser and lost his life. His brother was such a staunch supporter that he would listen to no one. Hans works for a printer. His country is changing. The Kaiser had made a statement that the boys would be home from the war before the leaves changed color and then four years had gone by. Poor people were starving while the wealthy could buy what they wanted. Gangs constantly stole from the rich. Women had to work in ammunition factories. The general public decided they'd had enough. Women wanted the right to vote and so socialist parties popped up everywhere. Hans' mother and sister have joined. Not only has his mother joined she is considered a leader in these illegal activities. The police are after her. Hans has always sided with the Kaiser. As he sees the injustice of a wealthy man eating a sandwich in front of a starving child he begins to agree with his mother. He doesn't really make his decision until he goes to visit his brother who has returned from the war an injured and bitter soldier. He now blames all of the countries problems on the Socialists and the Jews.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book and I have no doubt most readers will love it as well. More, I loved Saraswatti's Way and was looking forward to see if this book would live up to Schröder's last. It absolutely does and Schröder can be proud that not only has she written one amazing book that everyone should read, now she's written two.

My Brother's Shadow is historical fiction set in Germany in 1918 during the First World War. First World War, I hear you asking. Does that mean there won't be any Nazis? As Ricky Gervais so correctly pointed out, the only thing basic cable subscribers love as much as Shark Week is programs about Nazis. Of course, there's a great deal more to the history of Germany than the Nazi party, but you can't convince Hollywood of that. And it is my sad duty to inform you that in My Brother's Shadow, although the groundwork is being laid for Nazis, there are no actual Nazis.

My Brother's Shadow is a YA book rather than a middle grade, but I have no doubt some children under 12 would enjoy this story and there's nothing so very adult to prevent them from reading it.

By its very nature, My Brother's Shadow has ruled out readers. Almost every book does this to some degree. The Left Behind books were probably never going to be read by Christopher Hitchens and so on. Monika Schröder doesn't care. She has a story to tell and she's telling it. If you're smart, you'll pick up a copy and enjoy it. I certainly did.

Moritz Schmidt is our sixteen-year-old hero caught between two worlds: the repressive regime's traditional order and the coming democratic revolution. His brother Hans is a soldier and he's hardcore:

It reminds me of Papa, who died at Verdun two years ago.
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