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Born Free by Joy Adamson

Born Free (1960)

by Joy Adamson

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Heart-warming autobiographical book about a European game warden and his wife, Joy Adamson, who adopt and raise a lioness cub in Kenya during the 1950s. The story is emotional, but the writing is matter-of-fact. The reader is provided with an intimate look into the activities of wildlife in that part of Africa, and the life of a game warden. By the end of the book, aided by the adorable descriptive writing and plenty of pictures, I was in love with Elsa. . . and in tears. The book is not world-changing, but it is somehow deeply affecting nonetheless. I want to on a Safari, now. ( )
  allisonneke | Dec 17, 2013 |
I love animals, and it would be a dream come true to bond with a wild animal like Joy and her husband George did. It was an easy read, and there were lots of wonderful photos. What a fabulous lion Elsa was - she learned to live with other wild lions, but at the same time, she was gentle and always careful around her human caretakers, who she seemed to love just as much as they loved her. ( )
  LibraryCin | May 3, 2013 |
I read this book at the beach back when I was 8 or so. I remember my babysitter telling her friend I couldnt be reading such a big book for my age, that I must be pretending.

Well, I read a lot of it . . . I loved the lions. And the movie was awesome to me as a kid. ( )
  karalawyer | Mar 13, 2013 |
This is the book the film was based upon, the story of Elsa the lioness, hand raised by a Senior Game Warden and his wife, Joy Adamson, and later released into the wild. This would be rated five stars except that I really try to be stingy with those. The book didn't make me cry, laugh-out-loud or change my thinking, and Adamson, while she writes well and fluently, doesn't have the impressive, lyrical prose of Beryl Markham and Isak Dinesen, two other European women who wrote celebrated memoirs about their time in Kenya.

But what this book does offer is what a friend of mine called a "lost art:" The ability to write about an animal without treacly sentimentality but rather with sharp and insightful observations that make their personality evident (and in this case lovable) without a narcissistic focus on the writer and without an evident heavy-handed political agenda. Not that it hasn't had such a political effect. A Foreword by George Page quoting Faith McNulty claimed Born Free "may have done for the cause of wildlife what Uncle Tom's Cabin did for the antislavery crusade." Not only did the book gain support for the protection of habitat and endangered animals, but the Adamsons helped pioneer the technique of reintroducing animals raised in captivity back into the wild. Not that Elsa could ever be called a captive lion. That's what made her happy ending possible. She was never confined, never treated with brutality in an attempt to dominate. Even after successfully released into the wild, when the Adamsons came to visit her she'd recognize and greet them with affection. As Joy Adamson put it, their relationship continued "to be one of absolute equality quite different from that between a dog and his master." This is a short book you can read in a few hours and filled with a multitude of photographs of Elsa. It was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it--especially for lovers of animals and nature. ( )
2 vote LisaMaria_C | Feb 15, 2013 |
Heartwarming account of the raising of an orphaned lion cub and her return to the wild in 1950s Kenya illustrated with a plethora of contemporary photographs. Predicated on a belief that humans and wild animals are peers, this book was an important milestone in raising awareness of animal conservation. ( )
1 vote TheoClarke | Jan 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375714383, Paperback)

First published in 1960 and closely followed by a hit movie of the same name, Joy Adamson's now classic memoir Born Free continues to introduce countless young people to the wildlife of Africa. Adamson recounts her adventures as the surrogate mother of an orphaned lion cub named Elsa (with parenting duties shared by her husband George and by a delightfully imperturbable rock hyrax named Pati), whom she raised as a welcome member of her human and animal family while painstakingly teaching Elsa the skills she would need to survive in the wild. Her teaching, against all odds, was effective: three years later, the Adamsons took Elsa to a place near that of her birth and set her loose, hoping that she would find her "real pride" among other lions of the Kenya grasslands--as she soon did.

Long targeted to preteen readers, Born Free is in fact a sophisticated work of environmental consciousness-raising, for Joy Adamson believed that any relationship between humans and wild animals had to be conditioned by an attitude "of absolute equality quite different from that between a dog and his master." Although Elsa's story had an ultimately tragic ending--the young lioness died of disease and, in separate incidents, Joy and George Adamson were both murdered--Joy Adamson's book continues to instruct and entertain readers of all ages. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:20 -0400)

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A woman describes her experiences raising an orphaned lion cub intending that it eventually return to the jungle.

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