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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

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4.6 (2921 )
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  •  
    Bob Takoma Park, MD, United States 05-14-09
    Bob Takoma Park, MD, United States 05-14-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling story lifted higher by the narration"

    After several listens to books by Bryce Courtenay, it strikes me that this author's books, narrated by Humphrey Bower, represent something of the ideal in mainstream, audiobook fiction. The stories are vivid, well-plotted, with stirring story arcs. The narration is superb, with Bower handling a variety of accents and personalities and sexes in deft and entrancing form.
    Yes, Peekay's accomplishments strain credulity. But only if you stop to add it up in a dispassionate accounting. Swept along by the story, it is not an issue. He is ruled by a genuine sense of humility that saves the day. The story is marked by great struggles to overcome injustices and stiff odds, some perhaps stereotyped villains and saints, but also nuanced and unique characters to balance it out.
    There are two early significant characters that I expected might reappear. One, the 'good' one I thought surely should; the other, the 'bad' I thought could. Only one did reappear and it was the latter. I was surprised it was not both. This is not the kind of story to worry too much about convenient twists and turns.
    The German character Doc is wonderful, especially the way that Bowers brings him to life. I never tired of his superlative 'absodoodle'. On occasion it brought tears to my eyes. Of all the audiobooks I have listened to in the past ten years, only the Courtenay/Bower combination has done that - and consistently.

    48 of 48 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 09-20-07
    John 09-20-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding"

    I have been an audible customer for years and listened to hundreds of books. None touched me like this one. This is my first Courtenay book and I've since bought up all his books. The narrator is wonderful in bringing the characters to life. I didn't want the story to end. In fact, I hope these's a sequel in the works.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vermont Woman 10-12-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Read it many years ago and never forgot it!"

    I read this book many, many years ago when it was first published; I never forgot this book. It was one of the most powerful books I had ever read. When I saw the title on Audible, I ordered it...listened and loved the story all over again. I had not realized there was a sequel, Tandia, so I ordered that also. These books will stay with you forever. I have now listened, through Audible, to everything Bryce Courtenay wrote. Humphrey Bower narrates every novel of Courtenay and he is, by far, the best narrator I have ever heard!
    The Power of One is inspirational and so is its sequel. These books empower all who read or listen to become better human beings. That is the highest praise I could offer.
    I recommend all of the Bryce Courtenay books Audible carries...are there any more?

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 10-18-08
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 10-18-08

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a couple of reservations"

    This was a great story with excellent narration. I had a paper copy for years but did not get past the first few chapters - the audio version I crammed into every free moment over four days.

    I enjoyed it even though "coming of age stories" are not my usual picks and I abhor boxing (several matches are described in detail).My main motivation for reading "Power of One" was its presentation of historical background to racial strife in S. Africa. That aspect is very well done in one sense, but in another sense , it is just one more tale of a white man hero among the Black masses, and I wonder how Black South Africans evaluate the book. The author's self-deprecating introduction to the audiobook mitigates this "great white hero" aspect, though, as he explains that he wrote the novel as a exercise to learn the craft of writing and hadn't planned to submit the manuscript. In the process he expanded the "power" of the PK character, who is based on the author. Despite my criticism, I'm very glad he did publish, and I will download more of his work and read up on his life.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. W. Wright Lynchburg, VA 06-23-06
    J. W. Wright Lynchburg, VA 06-23-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Superb Reading"

    Others have praised this praise-worthy novel. I wish to call attention to Humphrey Bower's reading. It really is superb. He captures a variety of accents and voices, and always with the right emotion. He pronounces words native to Zulu, Africaans, German, Latin and English without missing a beat. This triumph of a book deserved an equally good reader, and it got it in Bower.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Borgnimbblefoot 04-27-06

    rage against the machine

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "STOP! don't watch the movie."

    Although I truly enjoyed the film (with the same title) it is the worst adaption of a book I have ever seen. Now I say this after watching the movie about a dozen or more times and not having read "heard" the book. If you enjoy movies and seek out the book versions like I do, this book will BLOW your mind!!!!!! This book is beyond the common trimuph over of adversity. Please take the time to enjoy this novel. It is even worth not waiting for credits to become aviable before you add it to your library.

    37 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie D. Dickinson Portage, Michigan USA 09-30-09
    Julie D. Dickinson Portage, Michigan USA 09-30-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Story with a superb narrator"

    I bought this solely on the reviews of others and wasn't disappointed. My husband listened to it after me upon my persisting and despite the fact we rarely like the same books, he enjoyed it as much as I did. The narrator does an excellent job with the voices and accents and one of docs. phrases has become a bit of a family joke (we live in Germany). I listed to Brother Fish before discovering that Tandia is the sequel to The Power of One. Those books were also very enjoyable, but the Power of One is one of those special stories with characters that remain a part of you long after you've read or in this case heard the last page.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dylan McDiarmid 06-26-06 Member Since 2006
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    "Pleasantly Surprised"

    I was looking for books related to boxing, and ran across this one. With a name like "The Power of One" I was afraid this was going to be a sappy, motivational tale ala "The Peaceful Warrior". After reading several favorable reviews however, I decided to give it a shot. First off, the narrator is superb, and, at least to an American who doesn't know any South Africans, seemed to capture the varied dialects of South Africa wonderfully. The story itself doesn't fall into the trap of attempting to be inspirational, and has enough grit and action to keep things interesting.

    My only complaint would be that the protagonist and some of the "good guys" he meets along the way are a bit, as the author states in the introduction, "larger than life". They make very few errors and primarily make almost unbelievably modern moral decisions in a largely immoral society. But there is enough depth in the characters to keep things interesting.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cathy Matthews, NC, USA 08-23-09
    Cathy Matthews, NC, USA 08-23-09
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    "Spectacular!"

    This story is gripping! I had to turn it off to get some sleep. This is my first Courtenay book but I intend on buying more!! Humphrey Bower is an amazing reader! I felt drawn into the story. His voice brings every single character to life! Amazing!! Truly, you will not be disappointed...(were there enough exclamations?) !!!!!!!!!!

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thornton Smithville, TN, USA 10-29-06
    Thornton Smithville, TN, USA 10-29-06 Member Since 2006
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    "11 out of 10, Absolutal Vunderbar!"

    Amazing story of a boy's growing up in circa WWII South Africa. The remarkable characters he meets along the way and his remarkable response to them and the events of his life will stay with me my entire life.

    When I read the reviews, deciding on whether to make this choice or not, I was hesitant. More often than not, narrowly reviewed titles on Audible with overwhelmingly positive reviews are indicative of a nearly cult-like philosophy. I took the plunge, and am delighted. No particular view is espoused or eschewed. The author is merely a fantastic storyteller. I will be coming back to him again.

    The length of this novel is wonderful; I only wish the story could have gone on about 100 more hours. The narrator is top-notch as well. The title of this review is a bastardization of the German-English spoken by one of the central characters, Doc. As I am limited to only one language, I hope my comment is not too offensive.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
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