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The Power of One | [Bryce Courtenay]

The Power of One

Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: Good character dramas are best shared with others, like good wine on special occasions. Bryce Courtenay's wonderful story of a child coming of age in a country ripped apart by racism is such a vintage—rich and complex, an experience you'll want to talk about long after the last words are spoken.

Publisher's Summary

"First with your head and then with your heart." So says Hoppie Groenewald, boxing champion, to a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. For the young Peekay, it is a piece of advice he will carry with him throughout his life.

Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.

©1989 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (2931 )
5 star
 (2033)
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4.6 (1737 )
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Story
4.7 (1731 )
5 star
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4 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Meridth 04-29-13
    Meridth 04-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
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    Story
    "Highly self absorbent author writes overrated book"
    What would have made The Power of One better?

    I have a lot of issues with this book, but there are some things that are good, even beautiful about it. Courtenay does a wonderful job of describing the settings and I can feel, taste, smell it as if I were there. Also this book is set in an interesting place with some very important, very heavy themes. He drives home the point of racial equality and the worth of humans regardless of race or religion. The sentiment certainly is noble.

    However, the craft of the book is lacking. There is not enough tension in the book (despite all the graphic violence) mostly because it starts off with Peekay being harassed and tortured as a small 5 year old. After his awful experience at boarding school Peekay decides that his destiny is to become a champion boxer and, as soon as he starts boxing, he becomes undefeated with something like 116 fights, he was pretty brilliant concerning music, he speaks something like 5 languages fluently and uses it for the good of mankind, and all his academic pursuits he mostly achieves (no he didn't get the Road Scholarship to Oxford University, but he did get accepted and had scholarships to other Universities). So there was no tension for his character, because after Peekay picks himself up at age 5, he himself is consistently a winner in athletics and academics. His success is a sure bet. Sure people around him have awful lives and some die in horrible ways, but the character seemingly overcomes his early childhood almost as if he were superhuman. It doesn't feel real or accessible to me.

    The thing I had most problems with is that Peekay, because of his empathy and his fluency in many languages and the tribal and cultural niceties, somehow becomes the white boy savior of the black people. I think I would have been fine with him doing great things for the black community in an extraordinary way, but the addition to him treating the black people as less than subhuman, changing the prison system so that blacks could get mail from their loved ones, and him starting a school for black people to read and write (all of which are plausible things for an extraordinary character in a historical fiction), but also he became the Tadpole Angel: Zulu spiritual leader of the African tribes of the region. The fact that the blacks in this book regarded him as a magical savior just really seemed overboard for me.

    So my basic response to this book was that it was tedious and long and meandered through seemingly a lifetime of this character's experiences, but mostly I found a lot of this novel a little too fantastical for historical fiction. It felt like a lot of wish fulfillment to me.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Bellingham, WA, USA 03-20-06
    David Bellingham, WA, USA 03-20-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    3
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    "The power of one"

    This is a powerful book that can give the listener good insight into the political climate of South Africa. The reader is superb. I found myself engrossed in this book and looking forward to getting into my car to place myself in the middle of this fantasy.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liza Klosterman 07-30-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Phenomenal Read!"

    I am only two-thirds through listening to this book, but I can tell you that this is one of, if not the best, book I have ever listened to. The author and narrator are both superb. I can't wait to listen to it every day on my drive to and from work. And I've even taken to listening to it during my lunch hour!

    I came across this book while looking through the books featured in "Great First Listens" on the Audible website. Although this is not my first listen, it is certainly a great listen.

    Absolutal - an 11 out of 10!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MR AJ Moore Magaliessig, Gauteng South Africa 02-17-09
    MR AJ Moore Magaliessig, Gauteng South Africa 02-17-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
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    73
    9
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    "Victory Story"

    This life afirming story moved me like no other book before! Excellent.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxanne 02-13-09
    Roxanne 02-13-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    87
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    0
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    "Amazing"

    An amazing and uplifting book. It is has meaning on so many levels. Wonderful writing. The beginning is somewhat difficult in that the story's begininng is disturbing. Stick with it, and you will be rewarded.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 12-20-06
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 12-20-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    149
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    169
    21
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    1
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    Overall
    "Excellent Narration"

    Humphrey Bower does a superb job at capturing the voices of the South African characters, and the story is not only convincing but compelling.

    The movie took major liberties with the plot, which is unfortunate. I must say that the audio book is brilliant, and I enjoyed it immensely. Absoludel!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula 03-25-12
    Ursula 03-25-12 Member Since 2010

    Cape Town, South Africa

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    13
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    1
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    Story
    "Magnificent and unforgettable"

    The Power of One is one of those books you savour each moment of, and mourn once it is over! It is a magnificent story teeming with all the elements that make for a story that touches the intellect, the heart, the human and of course the South African within you. I shall re-read this story many times in my life, as well as the sequel Tandia, for which I can only echo these same words of praise. Humphrey Bower was masterful in his narration and listening to his interpretation of this book in audio form will not rob you of the gifts of imagination which come with reading a book, this vivid portrayal can only enhance your experience!

    Highly highly recommended!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Bateau Bay, NSW, Australia 06-16-10
    Ben Bateau Bay, NSW, Australia 06-16-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    20
    1
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    "The Best"

    Five stars does not seem enough to share between Author and Narrator. The story, the language used and the way it's narrated are brilliant. The first person story telling is real, entertaining and chilling. The first few chapters as a five and six year old had the hairs on my arms almost constantly on end. My new favourite Audiobook by far.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Asheville, NC, Virgin Islands, U.S. 06-09-10
    Elizabeth Asheville, NC, Virgin Islands, U.S. 06-09-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    0
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    "Universal, transcendent, a must read"

    This is my favorite book of all time. I consider myself a well read person and have never been much of a repeat reader- but nothing- nothing - not even Jane Austen- has quite affected me like the Power of One. (Ok maybe that is apples and oranges but you get the point). This should be taught in schools. Literally the best book of all time. And the audio version is quite good! Do not even hesitate to get this!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy 12-21-08
    Sandy 12-21-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    117
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    Although PK was a bit too perfect to be believable, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The reading was excellent, the pace good, and it always held my attention.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 257 results PREVIOUS12326NEXT
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  • David
    NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom
    3/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing"
    What did you like most about The Power of One?

    Amazing, accurate account of growing up in South Africa and attending boarding school. Very moving and fantastic in the detail of PKs adventures...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Natalie
    Rickmansworth, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "A scary truth set in a powerful story"

    A great book.. The reality of apartheid set in the story of a young white boy. His simple innocence and the terrible world in which he lives shows a unique portrayal of the issues. This book will have you laughing, then crying and desperate to read the follow up book Tandia to find out what happens next. I couldn't stop listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • emma
    Hopwood, United Kingdom
    2/28/13
    Overall
    "One of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to!"

    The narrator of this audiobook is fantastic and makes it even better than reading the book itself. One of the most interesting and inspiring stories I have ever come across, probably even more so if you are South African. The characters are excellent and there's never a dull moment. I even learnt quite a bit about boxing...

    Would definitely recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • B
    Huddersfield, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "I felt the pain"

    Such an in depth description of life in South Africa after the Boer war, I learned so much. I have dropped it to 4 stars because I did sometimes feel that the charachter PK was "too good to be true" and glorified in his sucess a little too much.



    However you do feel as though you are there, and the narrator very sucessfully modified his accent for the different charachters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KIM
    Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
    3/5/12
    Overall
    "Excellent Story!"

    Really enjoyed this book so much! Peake has a great story to tell.
    The reader does an excellent job of 'doing' all the different character voices, well done!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    SHIFNAL, United Kingdom
    12/30/11
    Overall
    "ERGH!!!!"

    Reason for ERGH is that I've finished it - wow I loved this book - some of the sentences are life changing quotes. As Peekay says "with the head and then with the heart".

    Use your head and buy this book and with your heart you will love it forever.

    Can't wait to listen to Tandia.

    P.S. Humphrey Bower's reading is superb my congratulations to him

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joanna
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    12/28/11
    Overall
    "Great!"

    Fantastic narrator and a great story, even if the hero is too brilliant to be true! Loved it and will be trying more by the same author/narrator combination

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    Chestfield, United Kingdom
    12/11/11
    Overall
    "Epic story beautifully told"

    A real page turner of a book that is loosely based around the authors own experiences as a young boy growing up in South Africa during the second world war. One of the best books I've listened to in ages. Great story, wonderfully narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • bhavnas
    London, United Kingdom
    11/17/11
    Overall
    "Must have a copy of this book"

    Wonderful!! .I enjoyed this book, very positive and very powerful. Superb Reading, narrator really did a great job. I love the book very much and highly recommend this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fran
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    10/29/11
    Overall
    "Wonderful!"

    Having just written a poor review of Brother Fish, I thought I had better do the right thing and write what I thought of this BryceC. It couldn't have been different! A fabulous, engaging novel. Loved the characters, and was so sad to lose them. Rooted for PJ all the way and grew with him. Totally absorbing history lesson at the same time without being hammered home. Story crafted beautifully. Hey, and I don't even like boxing - but those scenes were compelling. One of my favourite listens!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 29 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

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