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The Power of One Audiobook

The Power of One

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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 (4380 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Marcus Jeffery 11-05-09
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    "A Pleasure to the End"

    I have been a long time listener of audio books and many I have enjoyed, others I have endured. The Power of One was fantastic. I rate it as the best audio book I have listened to date. The story is compelling and brought to life by Humphrey Bower's excellent narration and characterisations. I can't wait to listen to Tandia

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Loewenstern 12-24-06 Member Since 2017

    Walter L.

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    "Loved it"

    a great listen; the reader is South African and this enhances the listening experience. The book is funny and sad. One of the best books I have listened to. It may appeal more to men than women.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Chino Hills, CA, USA 10-03-06
    Paul Chino Hills, CA, USA 10-03-06 Member Since 2016
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    "Wow!"

    By far the best story and narrating I've yet to experience in Audible's collection. Bower's makes the listen all the worthwhile. The passion and dialects he's able to banter is exceptional. Although the story is a little far fetched at times, the book left me wishing for more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Halifax, NS, Canada 08-26-06
    Andrew Halifax, NS, Canada 08-26-06
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    "An Incredible Novel"

    Truly great books are centered about archetypal characters you can empathize with and genuinely feel for, and above all they need to tell a great story. The Power of One fits the bill. A genuinely awe-inspiring, powerful story, this is one book I'm ecstatic I bumped into... five stars!!!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-08-14
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-08-14 Member Since 2016

    My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.

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    "ABSOLOODLE"

    FIRST WITH THE HEAD, THEN WITH THE HEART
    This is a great book that should appeal to several different people. The first reason it will appeal to most is that fact that it is so well written. I am Jim, The Impatient, but I listened to all 21+ hours. It is a coming of age story, history of South Africa, history with references to Hitler and it has lots of boxing. Not knowing that much about South Africa, I felt I learned much. I got some of the perspective of how the Germans felt about the English before the War and I learned about APARTHEID.

    EVERYONE IS AN ISLAND AND AT THE SAME TIME, ROBINSON CRUSOE.
    Peekay, starts life out fairly rough. He is sent to border school at the age of five. He is the youngest there. A bully makes a habit of picking on him right from the start. Some of the torture this small boy goes through can be hard to take. To help him through it, he has a pet rooster. The first person to really treat Peekay with any kindness is a boxer. Peekay watches this man fight early on and this changes his life. For the rest of his life, his goal is to become welter weight champion of the world. Peekay's tough childhood and the kindness of the boxer, strengthen him and establishes his character. The strength of his character and they strong friendships he makes is the rest of the book. It is all very intelligently written and entertaining.

    THE PRESUMPTION OF THE WHITE MAN KNOWS NO BOUNDS IN AFRICA.
    This is a real good story on how the blacks where treated at this time. This alone makes the book valuable. Peekay makes friends with several blacks and becomes a hero to the people. I will agree with another reviewer and it did bother me and that is, what a shame that we have a white man hero. I would like to read a book where a black man becomes a hero. The statement of The Presumption of the white man also reminded me of a time in my childhood. When I was in fourth grade I knew nothing about South Africa, then a girl moved to our town from South Africa. One day she showed beautiful pictures of the country and talked about South Africa. She mentioned something about the crime and the worry of blacks raping whites. Only knowing what I had seen on tv about Africa and thinking of all of Africa as one country, I asked about all the naked black women. She commented to me "Everybody knows white flesh is more desirable then black flesh." She said it like I was an idiot. WE ARE OF THE EARTH, THAT IS WHY WE ARE THE COLOR OF THE EARTH.

    SHAKE A PAW
    The narrator is good and makes the listening better then the reading.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 05-07-12
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 05-07-12 Member Since 2017

    I have a DLitt and Phil Degree which must imply a level of discernment? I just clocked over at 60. The significance is that I have read a whole lot of books. I'm now revisiting some of my all time favourites - and enjoying some first time round books. Books are my friends. Audible is JUST AMAZING - takes me back to pre -TV days, with my ear pressed to a crackly transistor radio - but now SO MUCH better and more 'classy' from a Kindle!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "SOUTH AFRICAN NUANCES AND FLAVOUR"

    Loved the performance of this book - AND the characters. Mr Chook - What a chicken! Peekay did get me down a bit - so clever, so wonderful - and a bit of a goodie goodie two shoes. At times I gagged on his sweetness. Yet, evryone else absoludel made up for the treacly Peekay. Sad that the book ended....

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 02-12-08
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 02-12-08 Member Since 2010

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "OK story and Excellent Narrator"

    Like all of Courtney's books, I loved the characters and the story, but it just kind of ended very anti-climatically. I did, however, love the narrator and the story was good, I just was disappointed at the end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-10-06
    Louise WINTON, CA, USA 08-10-06
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    "Very Addicting Duo"

    What can I say. After reading Shantaram I had to find other books narrated by Humphry Bower. This is my third Bryce Courtenay novel and next week I get 2 more. Already I have them picked out.
    Bryce is working on a new novel, it may be out now. Surely hope we get it here. Life will be dimmer without his stories and narration of Humphry.

    10 of 12 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 2013
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    "Victory Story"

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

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meridth 04-29-13
    Meridth 04-29-13
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    "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.


    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
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  • Sarah
    Grange-over-Sands, United Kingdom
    8/20/06
    Overall
    "Fantastic reading of a great book"

    I first read this book when I was 20, some 16 years ago. It was a powerful read then and I have really enjoyed the excellent performance of the reader here, who brings the characters to life wonderfully. I have listened to hundrends of spoken books, and this is in my top five!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan Craig
    Bath, UK
    8/28/09
    Overall
    "Serendipity"

    I came across this book because it had somehow been featured on the Religion and Spirituality page of Audible ? mistaken, I presume, for ?The Power of Now?. However some mistakes are serendipitous and having read the reviews I selected it, and I have to say it is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. Superbly well read, constantly engaging ? I never found that my mind had wandered and I had to rewind ? and a cracking good story. My only complaint would be to observe that Peekay is a little too brilliant at everything he does to be entirely believable ? but heh, it is fiction after all...

    I will certainly be listening to more from Bryce Courtenay!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Deborah
    Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
    4/3/09
    Overall
    "The best book I've bought from Audible"

    I bought this book on the recommendation of my brother and I am so glad I did. It moved me to tears on several occasions and I became totally hooked and have spent the last few days with my iPod permanently attached! I'm only sad that I've finished it as I enjoyed it so much. The reader is brilliant and really gets the accents right. I can't wait now for my next book as I've decided to work my way through Bryce Courtenay's entire list. FANTASTIC!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Nick (uglyducklin)
    UK
    2/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "To sum it up in one word: Brilliant"
    Would you listen to The Power of One again? Why?

    I have the dvd,book but now kindle version (as people whom I lent the book to pinched it) and the audio version as it is a great story that gives you various emotions whilst watching/reading or listening to the story and this version is very well read that my wife keeps asking about my expression or why I am laughing.
    This is easily in my top 3 books and would certainly recommend you give it a try.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Peekay because his life is well written and you do really get into the character and wonder what is going to happen next.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I like the expression in his voice as really brings some parts to live where as some other audio books just sound like its a computerised voice and boring.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are a few points but as I wouldn't like to spoil any part of the story I'll say there are a couple of moments I did laugh or others that did get me sad (sorry I love reading and really get into stories)


    Any additional comments?

    When I had the book, I had lent it to a number of people to try and each person enjoyed the book and one person so much they pinched it :( so I bought the kindle version and now tried audible and have this version.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    London, United Kingdom
    5/4/11
    Overall
    "Awesome read"

    Fantastic read. I have really enjoyed this book. Narrator did the great job.
    Recommend this book for Must buy!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    8/13/08
    Overall
    "Life story"

    This is a life story, and although it is fiction, it's very believable, and is drawn from the authors experiences. I really enjoyed it, and it really gives a good view of South African culture in the mid 20th century. It's also a good read without the history if your not interested in that. Reader is great too.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    1/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touching and engulfing."
    What did you like most about The Power of One?

    The strength, the sorrow, The Power of One!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Doc


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    He feels the story, he tells the story, you believe the story


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yep


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    1/5/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "better than the film"

    i have already seen the film but the book is a lot better. very thoughtful powerful and could not stop listening.
    i u seen the film please read or listen to the book as it is totally different but a few bits is correct thou well done to the author hats off to you sir .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    11/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "what a Fantastic read."

    This has been one of my all time favourite books. Will look out for more Bryce Courtenay books, through Audible. He is an amazing writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Charlotte
    8/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "best narration!"

    Bower makes this book with his excellent narration. this book is an absolute triumph of a read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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