When Private Wotjek joined the Allied fight during World War II, his comrades could not imagine the impact his presence would have in the war. However, soon after his arrival, they realized what a valuable asset Wotjek would prove to be. There was only one small problem: Wotjek was a bear. "Once A Hero" is a historical novel of a Syrian brown bear cub that was orphaned and later, through serendipity, landed in the hands of Polish soldiers escaping the Soviet gulags. The tale is not only endearing, but also based on true events. The bear in the story is today honored and celebrated in several countries for his heroic actions during World War II. The story profiles the bear from birth to adulthood. The journey of a band of Polish soldiers is interwoven in the plot as they travel from their homes in war torn Europe, escape from the Siberian gulags, and travel through the Middle East into Africa. Eventually the paths of the bear and the soldiers cross, and the ten-pound cub is adopted as the troops' mascot. "Once A Hero" is rich in historically and culturally accurate detail. The characters are well-developed and endearing. Vignettes of colorful escapades are written in a delightfully humorous tone keeping the reader entertained thought out.