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Two Brothers [Hardcover]

Ben Elton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (614 customer reviews)
RRP: £18.99
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Book Description

8 Nov 2012

Berlin 1920

Two babies are born.

Two brothers. United and indivisible, sharing everything. Twins in all but blood.

As Germany marches into its Nazi Armageddon, the ties of family, friendship and love are tested to the very limits of endurance. And the brothers are faced with an unimaginable choice....Which one of them will survive?

Ben Elton's most personal novel to date,Two Brothers transports the reader to the time of history's darkest hour.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (8 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593062051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593062050
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (614 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Elton is one of Britain's most provocative and entertaining writers. From celebrity to climate change, from the First World War to the end of the world, his books give his unique perspective on some of the most controversial topics of our time.

He has written twelve major bestsellers, including Stark, Popcorn, Inconceivable (filmed as Maybe Baby, which he also directed), Dead Famous, High Society (WH Smith People's Choice Award 2003) and The First Casualty.

He has also written some of television's most popular and incisive comedy, including The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Man From Auntie. His stage work includes three West End plays and the hit musicals The Beautiful Game and We Will Rock You.

He is married with three children.

Product Description

Book Description

A deeply poignant novel set in Berlin between 1920 and 1945

About the Author

Ben Elton is one our most provocative and entertaining writers, author of thirteen internationally bestselling novels. His multi-award-winning TV credits include The Young Ones, Blackadder and Mr Bean. His stage hits include the Olivier Award winner Popcorn and the global phenomenon We Will Rock You.

Ben, his wife Sophie, and their three children divide their time between their homes in Australia and the UK.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
It's 1920 and two baby boys are born in Berlin. Paulus and Otto are brothers, the twin sons of devoted and happy parents Frieda Stengel, a doctor, and her musician husband Wolfgang. As they grow, the two boys share everything in common except for one thing - blood. While this doesn't matter in the least to their family, as the years go by it starts to matter very much indeed. This is because on the same night that the boys are born, another life screams into existence in Berlin, the National Socialist German Workers Party, and Frieda and Wolfgang are Jewish. Over the next twenty years, each covered in compelling and heart wrenching detail in this fine novel, we watch as their human rights are eroded one by one until, finally, the brothers have to use all their wits to survive.

This isn't just the tale of Otto and Paulus, though. Two Brothers is an immensely rich and captivating portrayal of the lives of many of the family's friends, relatives and colleagues, some Jewish, some not Jewish, but all compelled to play a part in the Nazi hell that is consuming their country and city. The stories of Otto and Paulus are entwined completely with those of two girls: Silke,a Christian, and Dagmar Fischer, a rich Jewish girl. The four children form the Saturday Club. As they grow into teenagers and young adults, this Club takes on a whole new significance and the ties between them become lifelines.

Years ago I remember reading Ben Elton's novels (particularly Stark and Gridlock) while both enjoying and being irritated by his stand-up humour during those hard years in the 1980s. Any doubts as to the pathos and tragedy that Ben Elton can instil into his humour were dispelled by Blackadder. Those same qualities are perfected in Two Brothers.
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82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little bit of historical satire? 12 Nov 2012
By Maryom
Format:Hardcover
Two Brothers is a deeply moving, thought provoking look at life for a Jewish family in inter-war Germany. What makes this particular family different is that one of their twin boys has been adopted - and actually isn't Jewish. When the Nazis start to divide the country into 'true' Germans and 'others', the family find themselves faced with a terrible dilemma - which of their boys should be saved? It's a real page-turner, more serious than I would have expected from Ben Elton but not without its moments of bleak humour.
- and, in case you wondered, No it's not a little bit of political satire.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkably Good Novel 26 Nov 2012
By C. E. Utley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I must start with a confession. I embarked on this book fearing I would find it tedious. I'm not sure why. My guess is that I had a sort of instinct that yet another novel about the appalling treatment of Jews in Germany in the thirties and during the war would be too bleak and depressing.

Of course, there is a lot to be depressed about in the book. It would not be possible to produce a remotely accurate book on this subject without its being depressing. But Elton understands that bleak subjects can only be borne by readers if humour is included. It may seem odd to someone who has not read this novel, but knows its subject matter, to be told that this reader sometimes laughed out loud when reading it.

And then there is the fact that this is a love story, even more than a story about the Holocaust. The relationship, from very early childhood, of Otto, Paulus, Dagmar and Silke is beautifully described. Each of those characters is extraordinarily well drawn. One adores each and becomes infuriated with each at regular intervals.

The jumps between the pre-war and war years on the one hand and the 1950s on the other work extremely well. Who is Stone, we ask ourselves for at least half of the book. And we give different answers at different stages. But we know we won't be sure until the answer is finally revealed.

Maybe it was hard of me to give the book only four, not five, stars. But I must explain my decision. And I acknowledge I may be quite wrong. It just seemed to me that the portrayal of ordinary German men and women was sometimes too cruel. Elton's account suggests that, almost overnight, pretty well every non-Jew German became a violent Jew-hater. Is it really possible that all Germans were as evil as he suggests?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, a must read !!! 25 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover
When a book can take you back to that part of history, where it makes you think of the time,where you are feeling the time,it for me makes it a classic. So visual, so painful, yet so moving. When you've. Read a few books and start to get disgruntled, then finally a true read comes along it makes you feel refreshed.. Just please somebody,, turn it into a film. Such a critical part of history that all generations should still be taught..
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable. 26 Nov 2012
By Lulu19
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a hard book to read but impossible to put down. Possibly because it was written in modern day English language rather than in a German accent, and maybe because like myself the lead characters came from a non religious Jewish family, I totally identified with them and suffered with them on every page. I shall be even more appreciative than usual tonight that my ancestors got out of Germany when they did.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best yet? 27 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover
I've read all of Ben Elton's books and thoroughly enjoyed them - whatever the subject matter, there's always a wry humour present. Two Brothers is somewhat different; although there is some humour, it's not as prominent and is overshadowed by the book's main theme, namely the events developing and unfolding in Berlin and Germany generally from 1920 through to the mid- 1950s and how they affect the brothers, their friends and their families and the population at large.

Ben Elton chronicles the rise of the Nazi party very effectively. Its use of the media of the day to disseminate misinformation about the Jews and to use them as scapegoats for Germany's dire situation following the First World War brings to mind what most likely happened in more recent times in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and currently the Middle East, where neighbours and friends are set against each other because of different faiths or origins and religious and humanitarian beliefs are distorted by governments to serve their own ends with little or no thought for the population at large. Additionally we're made aware of the exploitation of inexperienced youth to achieve a ruthless domination of a nation. The phrase, "I read/heard it in the media therefore it must be true", is one of which we should all be aware as an indicator of lack of awareness and diminished perception.

The book maintains the reader's interest throughout and provides much food for thought, even for those of us living in so called developed and civilized nations, so congratulations to Mr Elton for a book that informs and entertains but leaves one with a slightly uncomfortable feeling at its happier than expected ending.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A gift so no comment
Published 1 day ago by stantheman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book, great read. Would recommend either for yourself or make a great present.
Published 3 days ago by Viola McMorris
5.0 out of 5 stars ... on time - no fuss - no problems - good service - items exactly as...
Delivered on time - no fuss - no problems - good service - items exactly as stated.
Published 9 days ago by Paula Chandler
4.0 out of 5 stars he is currently reading it now and so far has found it an extremely...
This book I got as a present for someone, he is currently reading it now and so
far has found it an extremely good read,
Published 9 days ago by Lynne Moseley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lived up to expectations.
Published 11 days ago by RON REEVES
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully narrated story. I have read many 2nd world war stories but this is one of the best
Published 19 days ago by Nadarajah Irayanar
4.0 out of 5 stars The story is great, though
Could do with a rigorous edit! The story is great, though.
Published 23 days ago by Zest_ee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of Ben Elton's best
Published 26 days ago by Nathan Weatherington
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, touching, brings the horror of the time to life
There are a plethora of books and essays that try to bring to life conditions for the Jewish community in Europe as the horrors of the Holocaust unfolded bit by painful bit in the... Read more
Published 27 days ago by B Hever
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book, with interesting charactors
Published 27 days ago by J McMinn
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