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The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
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The Power of One (original 1989; edition 1998)

by Bryce Courtenay

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3,746931,389 (4.26)133
Member:pbirch01
Title:The Power of One
Authors:Bryce Courtenay
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1998), Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (1989)

  1. 21
    Tandia by Bryce Courtenay (daniellekrista)
    daniellekrista: This is the sequel to The Power of One. While P of O is my favorite book(I have read/listened to it nearly 10 times), Tandia is deeper and darker. This book follows Peekay on his boxing journey and shows the real hate of apartheid in South Africa.… (more)
  2. 00
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Semi-comic coming of age story
  3. 00
    The Syringa Tree: A Novel by Pamela Gien (Bitter_Grace)
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» See also 133 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I wanted to love this much more than I did. The writing and historical setting were well done, the characters interesting, and the audio pleasant. But there was too much boxing, the main character was too perfect (really, he NEVER lost a match? Ever?) (and he is worshiped by all the native tribes and adored by most of the white people he encounters too?), and the ending scene was cheap and disappointing. ( )
  Janellreads | Oct 18, 2017 |
An excellent book about prejudice and racial inequality and how it shapes us. ( )
  MPaddock | Sep 22, 2017 |
This is a remarkable coming of age novel set in Africa just as World War II starts. It's inspiring, touching, sad, with one of the most winning characters you'll find. A wondrous novel to be read again.
A couple of samples:

"Hoppie had sensed my need to grow, my need to be assured that the world around me had not been specially arranged to bring about my undoing."

"In teaching me independence of thought, they had given me the greatest gift an adult can give to a child besides love, and they had given me that also."

Movie version? It has a decent cast, but is a lousy interpretation of this book. Extremely disappointing. To be avoided.
( )
  Mark_Bacon | Jul 24, 2017 |
Summary – The Power of One is about a young English boy’s journey through childhood in South Africa during Apartheid. The reader shares his struggles as he learns to grow and adapt. He has many mentors along the way who push him into various activities, most notably, boxing. The book follows him through high school and into a job with the mines. The book ends with the main character getting vengeance for being bullied as a young child.

Personal Response – This is one of my favorite books. The characters are lifelike and easy to relate to. The writing makes it easy to read and paints a great picture of not only the African environment, but the struggles the characters face throughout the book. It also made me want to research Apartheid more as I read the book to gain more knowledge on this subject.

Curricular Connections – This is definitely an older middle school to high school novel. It would be good used in a high school level in conjunction with a WWII history unit. Students could research Apartheid and what effect the war had on countries like South Africa. ( )
  Lindsey33SMS | Apr 5, 2017 |
I don't understand why the book ended like that. I thought at that point Peekey had matured emotionally.
However, I otherwise thought this was a wonderful book. The characters each has so much depth and insight. I was a little jealous of how much everyone fell for Peekay and thought maybe his success was unrealistic. How can you be good at everything? I liked him much better as a child than as a young adult. But regardless, it was cute. ( )
  Brinlie.Jill.Searle | Nov 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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Man is a romantic at heart and will always put aside dull, plodding reason for the excitement of an enigma.  As Doc had pointed out, mystery not logic, is what gives us hope and keeps us believing in a force greater than our own insignificance.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034541005X, Paperback)

“The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama.”
–The New York Times

“Unabashedly uplifting . . . asserts forcefully what all of us would like to believe: that the individual, armed with the spirit of independence–‘the power of one’–can prevail.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer


In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.


“Totally engrossing . . . [presents] the metamorphosis of a most remarkable young man and the almost spiritual influence he has on others . . . Peekay has both humor and a refreshingly earthy touch, and his adventures, at times, are hair-raising in their suspense.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Marvelous . . . It is the people of the sun-baked plains of Africa who tug at the heartstrings in this book. . . . [Bryce] Courtenay draws them all with a fierce and violent love.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Impressive.”
–Newsday

“A compelling tale.”
–The Christian Science Monitor

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Story of Peekay, an English boy, living in South Africa during World War II whose dream is to become a winner.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141304898, 0143004557, 0143204793

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