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Editorial 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 Ratings

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Craig
  • Raleigh, NC, USA
  • 12-08-07

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

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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

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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

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  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 09-12-13

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

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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

  • Overall

Good

A great read. I like dialogs, so occassionally it was a tad bit too descriptive for me. Overall, very good book. I do recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared
  • Provo, UT, United States
  • 09-12-07

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

  • Overall

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

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 01-26-11

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

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Not His Best But Still Great

Yes, this was a good book and I gave it top ratings because I love the Courtenay/Bower collaboration. Nevertheless, it was four stars compared to the Potato Factory or my favorite, The Story of Danny Dunn, a masterpiece! Check those out!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sranderarees
  • 09-25-17

Awful narrator for a great story

This was one of my favorite stories growing up, and i wanted to relive it to see how it matched up to to my childhood recollections. The story is still a fantastic one, full of emotional highs and lows. As an adult I can identify the heavy colonial nature of the book, and while I recognize that it was written in the tone of the time, it still made me very uncomfortable at times. Despite my adult cynicism and political awareness putting a different tint on the story, I still completely loved the book.

That said, good god the narrator was horrendous. As a South African it made me physically angry to hear how he butchered just about every accent he attempted. He made every non-white and non- English character into a caricature that robbed them of emotional depth. I wish that they had got a South African, or even someone with even an inkling of experience with South African cultures to narrate this book. I soldiered through it, driven by the power of the story, but this book could have been infinitely better with a better narrator.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-05-17

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 .

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  • Charlotte
  • 08-26-16

best narration!

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

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  • Mrs S A Wales
  • 06-27-16

Stunning and beautifully read

Such a gem, beautifully read. A captivating story that is truly inspiring - wish I had found this years ago

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-20-16

Wonderful!

Great book and outstanding narration. Absolutely loved it and quite upset I have finished it!

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  • Deborah Parris Littler
  • 04-24-16

This is a superb book and exceptionally well read.

The narrator deserves an Oscar. I was amazed by his dominion of accents. Loved it.

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  • L du Toit
  • 02-14-16

Simply brilliant!!

A brilliant and nostalgic peace of work almost poetic at times well worth the listen and exceptionally well narrated.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-15

Epic

I read this book when I was much younger and I remember at the time that it made a huge impression on me. Second time round it has lost none of its original impact. Just one great fabulous book!

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  • Maximusrunot
  • 09-06-15

Fantastic

Best audio book so far. A great story, brilliantly read. Can't recommend it highly enough.

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  • Irene
  • 03-28-15

Irene

This is the first Bruce Courtenay book I have read & it will not be my last. I enjoyed the book from the beginning to the end, story line was good I didn't want it to be over. Narration was first class.