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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 (3933 )
5 star
 (2827)
4 star
 (784)
3 star
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2 star
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 (56)
Overall
4.6 (2656 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.7 (2645 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 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
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    2
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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 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry Redlands, CA, United States 02-19-10
    Sherry Redlands, CA, United States 02-19-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
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    100
    16
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    4
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    Overall
    "Outstanding!"

    Terrific story, learned a lot about South Africa and you can see it with the words, excellent narrator! I highly recommend this listen!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Jeffery 11-05-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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 2016

    Walter L.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    259
    22
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    1
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    Overall
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 05-07-12
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 05-07-12 Member Since 2015

    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
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    27
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    5
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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
    401
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    633
    170
    FOLLOWERS
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    47
    3
    Overall
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    135
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    198
    51
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    11
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Craig Raleigh, NC, USA 12-08-07
    Craig Raleigh, NC, USA 12-08-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
    ratings
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    55
    8
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    2
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    Overall
    "Great Audiobook, Not so great story"

    The production value of this audiobook and especially the narrator are excellent. It is a captivating read, paced well, and the narrator captures the different characters very well.

    I read the book then saw the 1991 (or 92) film made just after the ending of Apartheid. They are essentially two stories. You can't capture the nuances of this very difficult story on the screen so they essentially created their own story.

    It is important to keep in mind that this is fiction despite the autobiographical statements of the author. Appreciating that allows one to focus on the lessons of the story and not either the tremendously more complex reality of South Africa at the time or the one-dimensional way the Black Africans and to a great extent the Afrikaners are portrayed. I'd be interested in what Black South Africans think about the story.

    Although essentially a story of the emergence of a child from early oppression and tragedy, he is nonetheless a privileged child by virtue of his "race" and nationality so although the idea of the "power of one" as a means to overcome personal tragedies is a compelling one that privilege cannot be ignored.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Carmen
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Classic book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Have always wanted to read this book as I had heard so much about it and was not disappointed, great read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Doc, as he was so proud of pk


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Haven't heard him before


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

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    UK
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exhilirating"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Power of One to be better than the print version?

    As a South African, this book would probably hold more reference to me than most people who read/listen to it. The Power of One is an outstanding listen in understanding the psyche of someone who lived during the apartheid regime and felt like pretty much most anyone else about the abhorrent nature of that time. This is a story of courage, of weak vs strong, David vs Goliath and most importantly, right vs wrong. Told in a mostly colloquial sense, I simply could not turn it off. Read it now!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hoppie Groenwald - his influence on Peekay's early years clearly defines the boys character for later life. His intolerence of racism, coupled with his deep-hearted perservernece inspires Peekay to become the man he does


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The fight scene between Peekay and the heir to the Zulu chiefdom


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Fight for what you believe in


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
  • 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

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