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Two Brothers [Hardcover]

Ben Elton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (565 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 9.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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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 (565 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,347 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
82 of 89 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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70 of 77 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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14 of 15 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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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkably Good Novel 26 Nov 2012
By C. E. Utley TOP 1000 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story. Just brilliant. 24 Jan 2013
By Lynette
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm so glad I listened to the recommendation and read this book, it's not like the books I tend to read. For a start its the first thing I've read from Ben Elton, and I normally avoid books not set in the current day but this book has taken me on a journey that will stay with me for a very long time.

I loved Eltons writing style, I really felt the mood of the book and loved each character, the strength, their flaws and the emotion of them all. You can't fail to be moved by the harrowing treatment of the Jewish family in this story, made all the more emotive as it could so easily not be a work of fiction.

I laughed, I cried and I thoroughly lost myself in this story. Just brilliant. I won't hesitate to read some of his other novels. But now they have a lot to live up to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
really moving book
Published 8 hours ago by gaby holloway
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!! Highly recommend this brilliant book.
Excellent book. Must-read if you are interestedin history told through human stories.
Published 20 hours ago by Eliza
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
Very enjoyable
Published 2 days ago by E M Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant
A gripping well written story. I simply couldn't put it down. History so vividly described that I felt that he had been there himself. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Couldn't put it down
Great book! Couldn't put it down! Really did get a sense of Germany in those times and the horror it was to be Jewish.
Published 3 days ago by Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable book
I really enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit from it. I shall certainly be reading more of Ben Elton's books in the future.
Published 3 days ago by whiterose
5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing book, having lived in Berlin during the Cold ...
Just amazing book, having lived in Berlin during the Cold War even more poignant
Have also bought the paperback for someone else!
Published 4 days ago by Carolyn Lowther
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Get through the first two or three chapters which do not seem to engage you and you will find a fascinating and harrowing book worth the effort. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
Ben Elton is an engaging writer this is a story I thoroughly enjoyed. I've read other books by Elton and I feel he is now at the top of his game as a popular writer. Read more
Published 12 days ago by JerryJ
5.0 out of 5 stars another good compelling story
loved it felt as though i was there great story and true
Published 14 days ago by lorraine barnes
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