The Power of OneBook - 1989
“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
“A compelling tale.”
–The Christian Science Monitor
Baker & Taylor
A young boy becomes an inspiring symbol for black and white as he experiences an odyssey through pro-Nazi South Africa during World War II. Reissue. Movie tie-in. NYT.
From the critics
Age SuitabilityAdd Age Suitability
thinkpositive680 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
Lauren thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over
Coarse Language: Tolerable language; not anything people haven't heard before.
SummaryAdd a Summary
A young, white British boy is put into a boarding school full of white, Dutch boys. He is greatly mistreated and has no friends except grandpa Chook. Peekay never speaks of his true name. This is because Peekay took the power away from his bullies by making that cruel speech his name. As Peekay grows up, he discovers his power of one through all of his experiences.
In 1939, as Hitler cast his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, hatred of a similar kind took root in South Africa, where the seeds of apartheid were newly sown. There a boy called Peekay was born. He spoke the wrong language -- English, the language spoken by those who had sent the Afrikaners to the world's first concentration camps during the Boer War. He was suckled by a woman of the wrong color -- black, the color of fear and disdain. His childhood was marked by humiliation and abandonment. Yet he vowed to survive -- he would become welterweight champion of the world, he would dream heroic dreams.
But his dreams were nothing compared to what awaited him. For he embarked on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice, where he would learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the mystical power that would sustain him even when it appeared that villainy would rule the world: the power of one.
QuotesAdd a Quote
I only English, the infected tongue that had spread like a plague into the sacred land and contaminated the pure, sweet waters of Afrikanerdom . . . I spoke the language that had pronounced the sentences that had killed their grandfathers and sent their grandmothers to the world's first concentration camps, where they had died like flies . . . the sins of the fathers had been visited upon the sons, unto the third generation. I was infected.