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The Power Of One [School & Library Binding]

Bryce Courtenay
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1992

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.…

Bryce Courtenay’s classic bestseller is a story of the triumph of the human spirit—a spellbinding tale of all ages.

"It’s hard to imagine a reader delivering his audience so completely to a foreign locale as Humphrey Bower does in this coming-of-age novel." —AudioFile

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"Episodic and bursting with incident, this sprawling memoir of an English boy's lonely childhood in South Africa during WW II pays moderate attention to questions of race but concerns itself primarily with epic melodrama," noted PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama in the boxing ring.”
The New York Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brililant Feb. 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book for the first time back in 1991 whereupon I actually bought the book by looking at its cover. The old cover was a beautiful sunset view of the African dessert with a giraffe.
Nevertheless, the book engrossed me immidiately and within the first 20 pages it had made me laugh out loud and cry - no book has ever done that to me with such intensity before or since.
One complaint I have is with the back cover of the new editions of this book. Mr. Courtenay or the publishers have changed the name of one of the most crucial characters! On the back, it mentions a friend, Hymie, when in fact his name is Morrie. I was bitterly disappointed to read Tandia to find that the tone of the book has changed, and Mr. Courtenay decided to changed Morrie's name to Hymie without so much as an explanation.
Aside from that matter, the book is my all-time favourite and I have given it as a present to all my friends throughout the years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story June 13 2003
By mhnstr
The Power of One was recommended to me by a friend who has made the book required reading for his high school English class. I must say that the recommendation was a good one and I found myself alternatively amazed and distressed by the story. I must admit that I was under the wrong impression when I read the cover of the book which refers to The Power of One as "the classic novel of South Africa." I expected the protagonist to be African struggling perhaps against Apartheid. I leaned my mistake on the first page when I learned that the protagonist is an English boy named Peekay who finds himself as an outcast at the early age of five. Early childhood smiles very rarely on the boy, but when it does it is in the form of the love and generosity of adults who give selflessly to the boy, leaving an indelible impression in a world otherwise filled with distress. I would say this book is not necessarily a story of triumph, but of perseverance. A story of belief in ones self and ones dreams as well as self determination at any cost. The later is perhaps Peekay's one greatest character flaw.
The story is well written and will hold your heart and mind despite the occasional unbelievable coincidence. Overall, a very good book and I have not hesitations in passing along my friend's recommendation to you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in a long time June 12 2014
By Debra
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bryce Courtenay is one of the most gifted story tellers today. His books are must reads for anyone who enjoys reading. Thank you once again Mr. Courtenay.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Book May 3 2014
Format:School & Library Binding|Verified Purchase
Bought this book for a friend since it's my favourite book, and she loves it as well! It is very well written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time favourite books April 25 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book fifteen years ago and it remains an all-time favourite. I absolutely fell in love with the main character as well as Bryce Courtenay's story-telling style. It is magical and exotic and at times heart-breaking, but also incredibly uplifting. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a long and deep story set in a turbulent and exotic place and time in history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read Sept. 14 2013
By Cyndie
Format:Kindle Edition
The book was inspiring, entertaining one that I did not want to see end. Peekay is a gem and other characters are well developed. You just become hooked....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Feb. 21 2000
This is quite simply a magical story. I bought the book after accidentally stumbling upon the film late one night on the BBC. (The film is watchable but quite obviously adapted for a very different audience.) Once I had started reading I couldn't put the book down, so compelling is the plot. It wraps love, happiness, fear, suspense and death up into one bundle and can be deeply profound in places. I found myself crying time and again, sometimes with sadness, sometimes with joy, suffering and winning along with Peekay. The descriptive writing allows the reader to be completely drawn in and to feel part of the setting whether that be a small mountain village, an English boarding school, a boxing ring or a Rhodesian mine. I do agree with previous reviewers that Peekay is positively perfect in every way but if they wish to see him exhibit a few human flaws then they should read the sequel, 'Tandia', which I strongly recommend and don't feel is weak as is the won't of many follow up books. As for the criticism that the book presents all Boers as racists, I felt that it was more a case of many Boers being shown to turn a blind eye (as in the case of Gert and Captain Smit.) This theme becomes increasingly prominent in the sequel and I feel is reasonably accurate. Surely this is how a dictatorship flourishes. I think that this would be a great book for older schoolchildren and I note that many American students came across the book this way. However, I feel that because the book deals with some adult issues it will be avoided by schools in Britain and it is a shame that many kids will miss out as a result.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps In The Top Ten Books Ever Read July 17 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A pure delight from the start; a mindblowing riveting tale by a masterful historian and philosopher of epic proportions. I will be forever changed by the beloved Peekay. Many thanks Mr. Courteney.
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