Official Review: Dear American Brother by Joe J. Elder

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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mmm17
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Official Review: Dear American Brother by Joe J. Elder

Post by mmm17 » 19 May 2019, 08:55

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dear American Brother" by Joe J. Elder.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Hans and Kurt are brothers born in South Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. During a tumultuous time in history, especially in that region, their family’s German ancestry only complicates things. With the outbreak of World War I, Kurt manages to flee to America with an uncle, leaving a heartbroken Hans and the rest of the family behind. The suffering, unfortunately, is just starting.

Dear American Brother, written by Joe J. Elder, is the story of Hans’ ordeals, skillfully narrated against a meticulously described backdrop of wars and revolutions. The narrative begins in 1945, right after the end of World War II, with the protagonist desperately searching for his seventeen-year-old daughter in the middle of the destroyed streets of Berlin. He then takes readers back in time to explain the chain of events that led to this, which include failed attempts to leave Europe and join Kurt in America.

The book’s context is fascinating. The author describes major historical events through the eyes of a young man who becomes a helpless victim of oppressive regimes – “we were slaves bound to Lenin’s communist ideals.” Readers are taken on a character-driven journey with Hans as he witnesses the creation of the Soviet Union, as well as Stalin’s and Hitler’s insanities. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of the occupation of Russia by the Germans – which happens twice – and the aftermath of the forces’ withdrawal.

The storytelling is compelling and emotionally arousing. The exchange of letters between the brothers, for instance, almost brought me to tears. Additionally, there are interesting secondary characters such as Hans’ grandparents and sister, and the book offers a fresh look at the inner workings of a communist regime and its devastating impact on people’s lives. The suspense keeps building, and the ending is breathtaking, but no spoilers are allowed! I hope the author writes a sequel, for I would love to see how the story continues. Also, I believe this book would make a great movie or TV series.

Lastly, I rate Dear American Brother 4 out of 4 stars. I found no noteworthy negative points in it. The editing seemed clean and professional, with no errors to point out. The book flows smoothly, with an elegant style. Overall, this was a fast and enjoyable read that I would strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. In my opinion, only readers who are not fond of the genre might dislike it.

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Dear American Brother
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Post by kandscreeley » 21 May 2019, 12:26

This one sounds quite emotional and realistic. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, but historical fiction isn't something I usually read much of. Kudos to the author for such great editing, though.
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Post by Meg98 » 21 May 2019, 15:32

This sounds amazing! Your review has intrigued me. It seems that this book is educational and insightful. (Perhaps a bit of a tear jerker as well!) I will have to check this one out. Thanks for this great review! Cheers:)
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Post by Miriam Molina » 21 May 2019, 19:21

I reviewed this a while back but the errors didn't allow me to give it the perfect score. I'm glad to know they've been addressed. I really liked the book too. That ending - to die for, no?

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Post by ElizaBeth Adams » 21 May 2019, 19:53

I love historical fiction, and having read quite a bit about WWII, the events that occurred afterward that led to the formation of the Soviet Union are of interest to me. Thanks for an excellent review!

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Post by Rachel Lea » 21 May 2019, 20:44

I think this book's content would be a little too emotional and heavy for me, but it definitely sounds well-researched and well-written. Great review!
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Post by Uinto » 22 May 2019, 07:32

I like the narrative involving these two brothers. Their story during the German occupation of Russia and the World War 1 is compelling. Thanks for the review.

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Post by nooregano » 23 May 2019, 12:01

This sounds like an incredible, heart-wrenching book. I love three dimensional characters, they're always a pleasure to read! I have a question for you, does this book have any descriptions of violence?

This was a smooth, thorough review that I greatly enjoyed reading, mmm17! Thank you!
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Post by mmm17 » 23 May 2019, 15:40

Miriam Molina wrote: ↑
21 May 2019, 19:21
I reviewed this a while back but the errors didn't allow me to give it the perfect score. I'm glad to know they've been addressed. I really liked the book too. That ending - to die for, no?
Yes! Definitely a memorable ending. :)

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Post by mmm17 » 23 May 2019, 15:42

nooregano wrote: ↑
23 May 2019, 12:01
This sounds like an incredible, heart-wrenching book. I love three dimensional characters, they're always a pleasure to read! I have a question for you, does this book have any descriptions of violence?

This was a smooth, thorough review that I greatly enjoyed reading, mmm17! Thank you!
Thank you for your comments! And yes, the book does have a fair share of descriptions of violence, although not too graphic.

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Post by juliusotieno02 » 25 May 2019, 06:17

Your review was great. Your description of events and emotional exchange of letters got me so curious. I will definitely look for this book.
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Post by Bluebird03 » 25 May 2019, 17:16

I think that the exchange of letters between the brothers would be very emotional. And it sounds as though the ending did not disappoint. Thank you for an excellent and informative review!

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Post by kdstrack » 28 May 2019, 13:06

The historical facts combined with the emotional family situation sound quite interesting. The story line and the characters you have described make me want to read his book. Thanks for the amazing recommendation!

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Post by Outlawm » 29 May 2019, 20:10

This sounds like a wonderful read and I’m adding it to my growing list to read. It sounds like the author brings out emotions in the reader. Thank you for a great review.

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Post by Alvino » 02 Jun 2019, 23:55

The historical facts combined with the emotional family situation sound quite interesting. The story line and the characters you have described make me want to read his book.I really love it.Thanks for the amazing recommendation!

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