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Once We Were Brothers Paperback – October 8, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,910 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Liam and Catherine Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250046394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250046390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,910 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I learned that my law school classmate, Ronald Balson, had written a
legal novel entitled, Once We Were Brothers, I knew that I just had to read it. If I
expected to read something along the lines of a Turrow, Grisham or Martini, legal
thriller, I was pleasantly surprised - it wasn't.

The story begins when Ben Solomon, an 83 year old retired city worker,
appears at the opening night gala of Chicago's Lyric Opera and puts a gun to the
head of Elliot Rosenzweig, an insurance magnate and one of Chicago's most
prominent citizens and philanthropists. We learn that the gun was unloaded and
Ben says that his motive was that he wanted to exposed Elliot as being an
impostor - that Elliot really was Otto Piatek, a former SS officer known in Poland
as the "Butcher of Zamosc". It was at this time that Elliot Rosenzweig declared
for the first time that he was himself a Holocaust survivor and definitely not an
SS officer. He then revealed his arm which bore a concentration camp tattoo.
Who would represent Ben? This crime was committed in front of hundreds of
people and Rosenzweig had been declared by the Mayor Chicago to be "Chicago's
treasure."

Attorney Catherine Lockhart, who was working for one of Chicago's major
white collar firms, made the "mistake" that many attorneys do, by answering her
telephone. She was asked if she could do a favor for a friend - words an attorney
hates to hear.
Read more ›
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I bought this on a friend's recommendation and didn't really know what to expect. Historical fiction based in Nazi-occupied Poland, bouncing back and forth to present day America. I ended up loving this book. It is part legal thriller, part action/love story, and part history book. The descriptions of Europe and what was happening from a human perspective in the 1940's were so vivid that I actually feel more informed and knowledgeable after having read it. You can tell that the author really did his research. Enjoyable and informative - I can't ask for much more than that. It's a cliche to say that you "just couldn't put the book down." But last night, I had intended to go to bed at around 10 PM. When did I actually get to bed? 2 AM, after I finished this book.
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Format: Paperback
Ron Balson's first novel, Once We Were Brothers, combines the best of historical fact, spellbinding fiction and personal drama. Although set in war-torn Europe and the legal world of modern Chicago, it's not your typical courtroom drama with historical flashbacks; it's also a love story that crosses both time and geographical boundaries. As an attorney in Chicago who also has spent time in southern Poland, I know firsthand that this book is accurate in its portrayal of both worlds. Add well-developed fictional characters, suspense and a great ending, and you won't be able to put this book down.Once We Were Brothers
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fine and compelling premise is not enough to make a book great. Such is the case with "Once We Were Brothers." I hate to say anything negative about a book that sets its Holocaust tale in Poland, a perspective less explored in fiction than some others. The book's historical accuracy, in fact, makes many scenes heartbreakingly real. The plot structure, however, is very clunky. Circumstances are forced to drive the plot, and these circumstances strain the narrative. Characters at times are drawn almost as types, rather than as round, flesh and blood characters and the accompanying dialogue is often stiff.

The book's premise described thoroughly in many other reviews is extremely compelling, and the shifting events from present-day Chicago to WWII era Poland and back create a tense narrative that makes for a page-turning read. It is not, however, an elegantly written book. I do believe, however, that this author shows great promise. I would read another of his books to see if he lives up to the promise suggested by this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really really wanted to like this book, I just couldn't do it. The writing left much to be desired. It was stiff and very forced. Each chapter had a structure. Lawyer is too busy for civil case. Hears story anyway. Gets frustrated with how long it's taking. Okay I'll listen, but hurry up. Times up. Let's meet in two days. Please hurry up. Etc etc.... I was shocked to encounter this lack of creativity and emotion in a book that came so highly rated!! Don't get me wrong I enjoyed reading it but it wasn't something I had trouble putting down and it certainly is a book I will ever pick up again. The point of view of the war from a Polish perspective was very interesting but that alone could not save this juvenile book. I would only recommend this book to a friend that wouldn't have to pay for it and wanted something to read on a plane. All in all I am disappointed, probably wouldn't choose this author again.
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