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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brililant
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...
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by gozilla queen

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic but enjoyable
This is an enjoyable novel but hardly the masterpiece some reviewers would have you believe. The characters are drawn as carefully as those in Star Wars. Judge and Klipkop are bad. Hoppie, Doc, Geel Piet, Mrs. Boxall, Miss Bornstein and Morrie are good. Peekay himself is a Christ-like figure, perfection personified. He's a brilliant boxer, a brilliant student, a...
Published on Oct. 3 1999


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brililant, Feb. 24 2004
By 
gozilla queen (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Power of One (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 (Christchurch, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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 A Great South African Tale, May 14 2002
By 
Ashley D. (West Des Moines, Iowa) - See all my reviews
I think this book is an excellent book. It is a book for those who like to learn while they read. This is not a true story, but it is based in a time that really did happen. It is the story of a boy growing up in South Africa. He is not included, because he is English, so he finds friendship with the Blacks living there. He finds his place in boxing as well. He soon discovers that not everything is perfect as well. The Blacks are being mistreated, and when he sees that, it touches him. He knows he must do something about it. He grows up to be a smart student who has the potential of doing anything he wants, and uses that to help the Blacks. I thought I could relate to some of the parts in the book. I've been picked on and made fun of before. I think we all have. He discovered this inner courage and strength through boxing, we find our strengths everyday in what we do. This story is just very moving. It really shows the injustice of the South African blacks. I think it also helps us be more aware of what did really happen in South Africa. Some people may not have known that this injustice was happening, so this book could help them understand. I knew I had a small idea of what had happened before I read this book, but when I read this, I knew more about the situation down there. Some parts are more graphic than what you want, but it is still an excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The power to inspire!..., April 4 2002
I have to admit that this is one of the best books I've ever read. I happened to pick it up one day at a bargin store. It was in the middle of a bin full of books on sale for half price. The title caught my eye and I decided to buy it after reading the description inside the dust cover. Boy am I glad I did!!
I couldn't put it down. I read the whole book cover to cover in two days. It was amazing!! The characters are so beautifully descriptive. Peekay becomes so real, you feel like your right there with him. You will cry and laugh with him and cheer for joy when he succeeds.
He learns some pretty hard lessens early in life and yet he still treats everyone, no matter what color or background, with equal respect (this should be a guide for us all).
He battles through adversity and every challenge and refuses to let it dampen his will to accomplish his ultimate goal. First with the head and then with the heart...!!
I know that some might say that this book is unrealistic, some might even call Peekay selfish. I, on the other hand, took the romantic viewpoint and saw the story of a small boy who grew into a forward thinking youngman that saw through racial blindfolds and followed his heart to fullfill his dreams.
Please do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!... You will not regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Active Book, Jan. 8 2002
By 
Aaron Tawes (Taipei, Taiwan) - See all my reviews
The Power of One is an active book about a boy who faces many challenges in his life. The timeline of this book is only until the main character, Peekay, reaches the age when he is ready for college. The setting of The Power of One is in South Africa. Living in South Africa automatically creates challenges for Peekay because he is a white boy while World War II is also taking place. Peekay is a very active boy who always has something to do. Whether it is learning about plants to gambling to boxing. Boxing is introduced to Peekay at a very young age when he coincidentally meets a famous Welter Weight boxer on a train. This man then becomes his idle and he trains from the age of seven to become the Welter Weight Champion. While boxing is a main part of the story, you never find out if he fulfils his dream of being the Champion, which is disappointing to me. Although I felt that the book touches lots of aspects of a teenagers life. The Power of One also connects with the lower class of Africa, which is a good learning experience for the reader and the character. Peekay learns to box in a prison and in known as a good person because of things he does. Word of this travels trough parts of Africa, which makes Peekays life harder and easier in ways. This is one of the few books that I couldn't put down, I was itching to see what happened next, and I'm sure you will too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE ABSOLUTELY BEST BOOK, AND SOUNDTRACK IN THE WORLD!!!, Nov. 25 2001
By 
Gretchen "Theatre Lover" (Fairfield County, CT USA) - See all my reviews
I just want the ENTIRE WORLD to read this amazing book, and its astounding sequel "TANDIA" {if you can find it}. I first saw the movie in April 1994, and I did not move for the entire movie, I was so awestruck with the story. In the End Credits, I saw that it was based on a book, and that the author had credits both as Author, and as Project Consultant... The fact that it was originally a book, made me take note to look for it in a bookstore as soon as I possibly could. Within the next week, I was in a bookstore, and they had a copy. Oh, Joy! Oh, Rapture! That was the beginning of a delightful friendship, as Bogart said in CASABLANCA... :-) I think that I read the entire 518+ pages in record time, even for me, as I know that I read fast. I JUST COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!!! From that moment, I purchase at least one copy of this book a year for myself - I wear out the spine of the book- and give several as gifts. When I start to dream sequences of this book, I know that it is time for me to re-read, yes! RE-READ! this ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING BOOK! I believe that I have read this book at LEAST 20 times; and I get more out each time I read it... I now even have about 5 people at work reading this book because of me, and I am ecstatic about this! I think that this book should be in EVERYONE'S LIBRARY, just because it is a great book! I listen to the soundtrack periodically, but only if I want a really good cry, as the gentleman who did the instrumental music, HANS ZIMMER, also did the same for Disney's THE LION KING (which I BAWL during)... I now no longer can listen to music without my heart and soul knowing when HANS' music is played... I was crying when I heard FAITH HILL's song from 'PEARL HARBOR' -"THERE YOU'LL BE", and then I found out that it was written by Mr. Zimmer... Do check out the *LOOK INSIDE* feature that Amazon is now featuring with this book, and I guarantee you that the 24 pages that they show WILL NOT BE ENOUGH!!! For those who have read the book, and want more of Bryce's books available in the USA, please drop me a line.
For some odd reason, this is the only book of his which is published here, and he has since written at least 11 others that one can only get in Australia, which includes "TANDIA", the astounding SEQUEL to "THE POWER OF ONE"...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A harsh world through the eyes of a child, Nov. 24 2001
By 
This book is truly a great work. For those of you who have loved the movie, starring Morgan Freeman and Stephen Dorff, you will notice some significant differences throughout the novel. But those differences in NO way detract from the power of the story.
Peekay is an English boy growing up in South Africa during World War II. He grows up attending a boarding school run by the other white tribe of South Africa, the Boer's, who are pro-Nazi and hate all things English. Perhaps because he's a small child, or because he faces such hatred at school, Peekay develops an iron will to become a winner. His best weapon being the "power of one", which he defines as the power to believe in oneself, which goes above and beyond any strengths which are readily apparent. And throughout his life, Peekay demonstrates over and over again just how believing in himself helps him through life's greatest dangers.
The book is very real. It is written from Peekay's viewpoint, as he witnesses first-hand death, loneliness, friendship, hatred, and all the emotions we all face every day. Set in such an explosive time and area, these emotions and the events that shaped them are all the more apparent. At times, I cried. Others, I was fuming inside at the injustice done to Peekay, and the Black South Africans he befriended. Other times, I could not help but burst out laughing. I hope that many others will take the chance to read the book and enjoy it as much as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of One, Nov. 12 2001
In Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One the author describes a world where one small boy can make a difference. The author's stellar uses of literary terms help bring this world to life. The book starts out with the main character, Peekay, in a small boarding school where he is picked on almost everyday. Courtenay uses a very descriptive tone of writing which makes the book flow really well. This adds to Peekay's adventure by describing each adventure, which makes the reader not want to put the book down. One of the best features of the book is the antagonist. Peekay is always faced with adversity, so it is adversity that plays the role of the antagonist. Either it be a lose of a loved one or being forced to make a change Peekay handles the problem exceptionally, even at a young age.
The way Courtenay writes portrays Peekay as a young boy who is very advanced for his age. The book is written in a first person through the view of Peekay, which enables the author to use large vocabulary words, and in depth thought because of Peekay's high intelligence. Courtenay is able to show Peekay through a time of innocence and show how much Peekay learns from the surrounding characters by his style of writing. Throughout the novel it becomes more and more advanced as Peekay learns.
Courtenay also uses good local color. He is constantly using African words to further implicate the setting. He also uses local tradition to tell his story of Peekay.
This is easily one of the best books I have ever read and if you have not read it you should. Who knows maybe you will be inspired by The Power of One
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Upifting Story of Triumph over Adversity, Sept. 4 2001
By 
Todd Erskine (Issaquah, WA United States) - See all my reviews
Bryce Courtenay has written a thought-provoking page turner in "The Power of One". The book follows the journey of a young boy through the trials and tribulations of WWII era South Africa. The reader is introduced to the main character with an intimate insight into the mind of a child subjected to almost unbearable hardship and torture by his boarding school classmates. Starting from a base of terrible abuse and neglect, Courtenay takes his readers along for the ride as his hero, Peekay, navigates the river of life. The reader can little help but take pride as Peekay discovers boxing, and develops his craft with both passion and skill. Running throughout the work is the persistent use of boxing as a metaphor for life. Jabs, crafty footwork, lightning fast combinations, and more come to symbolize the approach to life taken by the young Peekay. With admirable finess and cunning, Peekay manipulates the system to his every advantage, while in his mind ring the words of an early mentor, "first with the head, then with the heart." This book is an outstanding, insightful treat to read. One caveat: In his zest for a clean end to the work, Courtenay seems to me to abandon many of the principles that guide Peekay through the first several hundred pages. One may question the author's chosen conclusion, but in spite of any disagreement I may have with it, I still wholeheartedly endorse this book as one of the finest works of fiction I have had the pleasure to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eleven Out of Ten -- Absoloodle., Aug. 30 2001
By 
Craig Montesano (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
The measure of a truly great novel is the persistence with which it occupies the reader's thoughts after he finishes it. Such is the case with Bryce Courtenay's fine work ' a semi-autobiographical coming of age story that takes place against the backdrop of South Africa during and after World War II.
'The Power of One' is a treasure trove of mentors, friends, villains, history, and boxing. The tension between Englishman and Boer is prominently displayed, as is confusion over the African's place in society and the emergence of apartheid. The protagonist's struggle with a childhood tormentor, aptly named Botha, is symbolic of the struggle against nationalist Boer repression.
While most histories of the British Empire brush upon the antagonistic relationship between the English and Boers, Courtenay's first-person account illustrates the visceral distaste and odium that these two peoples had for each other. Many of the memorable characters appearing in this book are drawn from the author's life, and were vivid enough to provoke reactions from this reader.
Overall, the writing is balanced, properly descriptive when needed, and uncluttered when not. The plot is engaging and leaves one staring longingly at the book from across the room when forced to put it down.
Much has already been said about this excellent book, and most of it put in more eloquent terms. Suffice it to say that because it celebrates the boundless nature of human spirit, 'The Power of One' is a novel that truly deserves to be classified as modern literature.
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The Power of One
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (Mass Market Paperback - Oct. 8 1998)
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