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

by Bryce Courtenay

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3,279831,672 (4.27)109
Member:keeliejo
Title:The Power of One
Authors:Bryce Courtenay
Info:Mandarin (1989), Paperback
Collections:Your library
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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 109 mentions

English (80)  Dutch (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
Ok so I'm not one of the big believers in this story. It was recommended to me as a wonderful coming of age book about a white South African youth in pre and post World War II. I really loved the central characters as they were so well developed. In particular, I loved Doc and Mre Boxall and Geel Peet.
The first half of the book tells the story of Peekay who lives with his mother, grandfather in a small town and the people who have an impact on his life. While he spends time at a residential boarding school at a very young age, he meets a horrible bully called the Judge. The treatment Peekay faces at the hands of the bully has a major impact on how he handles every situation for the rest of his life. This is where the Power of One evolves. Of course, Peekay survives, grows stronger and smarter and learns how to survive by using his intelligence, leadership, fairness and boxing skills. His ultimate goal is to become the Welterweight Champion.
Ok, so what irks me about the story is the fact that Peekay's success, personal attributes and ability to tackle any task in matter how difficult or complicated, become unbelievable. Peekay never loses, or fails. He finds solutions to every single problem through networking. He can read Latin and Greek at an early age and identify every single fungus and cactus because of his relationship with Doc. He plays chess like a grand master, and speaks several African languages and learns to box like a pro.
Enough... He is a very nice character who abhors racial discrimination and makes good friends easily. As a child, his friends are all adults which I found odd. Perhaps I'm too critical, it is worth reading but the character could have used a few flaws. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Mar 5, 2014 |
Powerful novel of S Africa, focusing on one boy, Peekay. Becomes a boxer, and more... ( )
  DavidO1103 | Jan 18, 2014 |
Powerful book about Peekay, a young English boy referred to as a Rooineck, living in apartheid South Africa. This book pulls no punches and is written inclusive of all the hurtful, bullying tactics of bigots. Six-year-old Peekay, born in the 1930s in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, one day learns that small can beat big. He learns to think with his head and then with his heart. He discovers that nothing can defeat the determination to be true to yourself; this is the power of one. He goes on to become a welterweight champion. His determination of character is shaped by all of the diverse people he meets throughout his life. Courtenay describes people's personalities really well and i found this book brilliant to read as the people and events felt real. One minute you feel like crying the next you are damn angry, then happy as hell to know that the suppressed are able to pull the wool over the oppressed eyes. Definitely need the glossary at the back to help with understanding the Afrikanner words. ( )
  rata | Dec 3, 2013 |
Very good story. ( )
  DeanClark | Nov 11, 2013 |
This quickly became one of my favorite books. It was recommended to me by a friend and I had no idea what to expect but I found the story intriguing. The characters, especially the protagonist Peekay, drew me in and I found myself unable to stop reading. We follow Peekay as he pursues his dream of being welterweight champion and learn a great deal along the way. I would recommend this book highly. ( )
  SullyTJ | Oct 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:33 -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)

» see all 14 descriptions

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Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141304898, 0143004557, 0143204793

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