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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 (3296 )
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  •  
    Marge 05-25-14
    Marge 05-25-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "IT'S NOT ABOUT BOXING, A great listen!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Power of One to be better than the print version?

    Although I haven't read the print version, this is a book that is perfect for audio. Set in South Africa, the reader does an excellent job separating the multiple characters in a beautiful accent.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is an inspiration, riveting tale of how a young boy finds his way in life despite multiple hardships. It also does a wonderful job of exploring racial issues in South Africa from multiple perspectives.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    He is able to switch back and forth seamlessly between characters.


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

    This is a story to savor and I was sorry to come to the end of the tale. An example of excellent storytelling.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a recommended book or I would have never found it. Whether truly a depiction of the author's childhood and life as a young man or just pure fiction, it was a delightful and thought provoking novel. Highly recommended

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 11-06-13
    Kimberly 11-06-13 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Can't Believe..."

    I can not believe I never written a review on this book. I listened to this in 2011 and I loved it enough to happily purchase other Bryce Courtney's books. I just recently 'revisited' this wonderful book and have every intention of introducing it to my grandson.

    It is unbelievably cruel - and optimistic, and it is very inspiring. It is fiction and the prelude does say it is Bryce Courtney's 'story' I understand it is every underdog's dream; and fiction. It is still a really good story.

    Every underdog child should read/hear this. It is hopeful in a time of bullying and painful reminders of missteps. (Everything is recorded and replayed!!) It is the ultimate survival story that we all need. Everyone needs to find a passion, an inspiration, and a truth. This book has lived on for many years - first published in 1989 - and has lived in many hearts to this day.

    The message? Do not discount others due to prejudices. Be passionate about something. Do not give up. Do not worry about what others think. Know what you know. Never quit learning - and do not forget to start learning.

    I don't believe my little note will not mean much but I had to submit my opinion. Definitely worth a credit or two.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-12-13
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-12-13 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    "Be true to yourself, even under fire"

    This is a remarkable story of a young English boy in Africa being raised by his black nanny, whom he adores. His father is dead and his mother has had a nervous breakdown. As WWII breaks out, he is sent to boarding school at the tender age of five, where he suffers at the hands of the older boys as well as the head master. But what he learns there stays with him the rest of his life, good and bad. The narration is perfect, capturing the German accent of Doc, who is sent to prison during the war, as well as the English and African languages. The listener can close their eyes and "see" the landscape of Africa through the detailed description of the mountains and plants, and can feel the spirit of the African people by their singing. Peekay's journey is most unusual, frightening, and he becomes a man long before the age of "manhood". The lessons and his journey hold much for all of us, and make us question, "am I still wearing the camouflage"?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Beaton Eureka, CA 01-08-12
    C. Beaton Eureka, CA 01-08-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Best Author and Narrator Combination Ever!"

    I read the "The Power of One" years ago, and thought it was one of the best novels I had ever read. I don't usually read novels unless they are set in another country or era that I can learn more about. I never forgot this book. When I listened to "Shantaram" I was so impressed with the narrator, Humphrey Bower, that I checked to see what else he had narrated. There was "The Power of One"! I instantly downloaded it and was not disappointed. Bower is the best narrator I have ever listened to. I enjoyed listening to this book even more that I did reading it. Bower gives each wonderful character in the book a distinct voice and personality. He can speak in almost any accent convincingly and with great emotion. This is a book that would probably be considered a book for men, as most of the characters are men, and boxing and considerable violence are embedded in the story. I hate boxing and violence, but as a female who loves a good listen, I would give this book/narrator combination ten stars if I could! Perfect!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken DeForest, WI, United States 11-06-07
    Ken DeForest, WI, United States 11-06-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Well Written"

    Another great production by Bryce. I guess this was the first, but it was not the first I read. The author really brings together a great historical sequence of life and the trials and tribulations of the main character, PK. Interesting ending, very different than I was expecting, but I'll say no more on that so as not to spoil it for others.

    This is a great read especially if you like other Bryce Courtenay books and if you ike a great life drama, with a little humor sprinkled in this is a book for you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Provo, UT, United States 09-12-07
    Jared Provo, UT, United States 09-12-07 Member Since 2009
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    "amazing!"

    jumped to the top of my all time favorite books (for sure in the top 5, probably closer to #1)...amazing narrator -- i loved listening to his voice as he narrated...perfect in every way -- i'm off to listen to the sequel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Brandon, MB, Canada 01-06-07
    Karen Brandon, MB, Canada 01-06-07 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding production"

    This is a 'must listen' audio book for a wide range of audiences. The superb narration and a excellent story make this an outstanding production.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 01-26-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 01-26-11 Member Since 2015

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In the tradition of Bryce Courtenay"

    As always, nicely written and incredibly narrated. More boxing and coming of age like Four Fires. I liked the book and had no issues with the book as some others have had with a transforming white person in a culture of color. If you are a fan of the author, he will not disappoint you here. The characters are rich and the story perfectly narrated by the gifted Humphrey Bower.

    4 of 5 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 2015

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen San Diego, CA, United States 06-20-14
    Stephen San Diego, CA, United States 06-20-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm just this guy, y'know?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A boy's courage as he grows into a man..."

    I wasn't sure what to expect, having already watched the rather cliche and collectivist-oriented movie of the same title based on this novel.

    This book was great! The power of one... there is no collective in the boxing ring, only the individual. It shows everything that needs to be said about the evils of racial hatred and statism.

    The sequel is definitely worth a read too. I'm still working my way through the rest of his books, but I've liked all of them so far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Richard
    London, United Kingdom
    4/6/09
    Overall
    "Very Good"

    This has always been one of my favorite books and Humphrey Bower really brings it to life. THe story is gripping and the characters are very vivid and believable. A must listen to

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    Dromahair, Ireland
    7/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A boy's adventures through a difficult youth"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I was surprised I enjoyed this book so much. Its different from my usual read but had me hooked from the start.


    What other book might you compare The Power of One to, and why?

    This is basically a boy growing up, both in his own development and his growing awareness of the politics around him. I can't think of a similar book right now.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I loved the meeting between our young protagonist and the guard on the train who first inspires him to become a boxer. Its a lovely, loving and thoroughly moving encounter where two odd personalities forge a deep connection over two days.


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

    Many. We care deeply about young Peekay and all the difficulties he encounters. The loss of his black nanny is particularly awful, unacknowledged as such by the other adults in his life.


    Any additional comments?

    As another reviewer noted, the protagonist wins out a bit too much. Some of the scenes feel a bit too emotionally manipulative. But a thoroughly enjoyable listen with great narration. I will be listening to the sequel too.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sandy
    fraserburgh, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "One of my favorite novels"

    A story of an orphaned white boy in South Africa prior to the rise of the Nazis.It tells of his time at boarding school as the only english boy in a Boer school. The story continues through to secondary school in the post war years.



    The story is very well written and keeps the listener hooked.



    The narration is excellent which adds character to the story.



    Cannot rate this book highly enough. If you like a good story, you will love this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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