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The Power of One

Written by: Bryce Courtenay
Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
Length: 21 hrs and 33 mins
5 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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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.

©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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My Favourite Book

Great book, my favourite. Performance of the narrator is top notch. You won't regret this purchase.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible!

I read the book years ago. Loved it then. Audio version was incredible. A must listen!

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Amazing Book!! Please Listen!! Please Share!!!

It's a journey well worth the effort...step into the shoes of young Peekay and share in his pain, share in his victories, and most importantly share in and adopt his innocent perspective....a perspective that starts out naive, steadily becomes worldly - Additionally please pay attention to the nuance, so that you can use Peekay's insights to both exam and better your own life.

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Amazing

An incredible story that keeps the listener listening. Narration is very well done, particularly with all the different accents. I will be starting my next Bryce Courtney book today.

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Spectacular

There are good narrators, great narrators, and then there is Humphrey Bower. He is truly in a class by himself. The breadth of accents (Afrikaans, British, Zulu, etc) create a truly immersive experience. Don't be fooled by the forgettable movie of the same title; this is a powerful, riveting story. And it is made all the richer through Mr Bower's skill. Kudos to the publisher for including a brief foreward read by the author himself that recounts the humourous backstory to how this wonderful book came to be.

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Amazing

The only book I actually got into. Revengeful and fun. As for the audio. The guy does accents!!! It’s awesome

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Great book

Well written and well read and because I need 15 words I’m still writing a review to finish...

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Enjoyed it!

The Power of One is a semi-auto biographical coming of age story set in South Africa during the 1940’s. #Audible1

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Great listen

This book was recommended to me & I love it. It really is an all around powerful book. It shows the power of an individual. Love it and highly recommend it also.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • Takoma Park, MD, United States
  • 2009-05-14

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.

93 of 94 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. W. Wright
  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 2006-06-23

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.

37 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2007-09-20

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.

58 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • New England Woman
  • Newmarket, NH
  • 2008-10-12

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?

55 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dylan McDiarmid
  • 2006-06-26

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.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Borgnimbblefoot
  • 2006-04-27

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.

49 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie D. Dickinson
  • Portage, Michigan USA
  • 2009-09-30

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.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thornton
  • Smithville, TN, USA
  • 2006-10-29

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.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • Bateau Bay, NSW, Australia
  • 2010-06-16

The Best

Five stars does not seem enough to share between Author and Narrator. The story, the language used and the way it's narrated are brilliant. The first person story telling is real, entertaining and chilling. The first few chapters as a five and six year old had the hairs on my arms almost constantly on end. My new favourite Audiobook by far.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cathy
  • Matthews, NC, USA
  • 2009-08-23

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?) !!!!!!!!!!

26 of 28 people found this review helpful