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A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke
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A Lion Called Christian (1971)

by Anthony Bourke, John Rendall

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3701529,266 (3.79)16
  1. 00
    The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa's Wildlife by Kobie Kruger (Ella_Jill)
    Ella_Jill: This book also tells the story of a human-reared lion rehabilitated to the wild.
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» See also 16 mentions

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I purchased this book at a bookstore that was closing it's doors. The price was discounted, and it looked like a quick read. I had never seen the youtube.com video, or heard of it......When I got home, I watched the video and started the book immediately!

The Youtube.com video brought me to tears and I just had to read the story of these men and this lion who obviously loved each other....how did this come to be? How does that happen?

This story is about 2 men who came about puchasing a lion cub from Harrod's in London. They took this cub home to where they lived above a furniture store. You read about the goings on in raising this lion cub...how Christian would romp around the furniture store and play with the customers! As he got larger, he would sit in the windows of the furniture store and watch pedestrians walking by....they in turn, would stop and stare at the lion in the window!

John and Ace (the 2 men) realized they wouldn't be able to keep him forever, so they found a way to "rehabilitate" Christian back into the wild. I will not give away the end of the story, but it's a heartwarming story of relationship, trust, love, nature.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves animal stories. ( )
  thebigreader | Dec 12, 2013 |
A lovely updated version of the 70s book written by two young Australians who became besotted with a lion cub for sale in Harrods and decided to take him home (as you do)... They lived with him in London for a year, first in a furniture shop, and then they were taken under the wing of Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna (of Born Free movie fame) who built a compound for Christian on their country estate just outside the city. From there he was flown to Kenya to be rehabilitated into a new wild pride by George Adamson (of actual Born Free fame), with Ace and John staying in the camp alongside him for several months. The book is updated to include the YouTube-famous reunions between Ace, John and Christian, first after a year, then again after two; the footage of a fully grown wild lion running to greet his old friends after all that time apart went viral and brought Christian's charming story to a whole new generation.

The delightful stories from Christian's year in London are so funny and sweet, and his intelligence and playfulness make them a joy to read. Whether they're playing football in the garden, or Christian is playing coy with them, climbing onto their knees for a cuddle, or practising pouncing on shop customers from behind the furniture, the affection between the trio glows from every page. Oh, and there are photos! Highly recommended for lovers of heartwarming wildlife stories and cats of all sizes... ( )
  elliepotten | Jul 27, 2013 |
i am a sucker for wildlife stories and this one has it all. the you tube video is remarkable. the book is good. somewhat amaturish but good. ( )
  Smits | Apr 12, 2012 |
[Originally written for my book blog at www.michelleamanda.co.uk]

I really loved this remarkable true story. The authors are very careful to point out the modern laws and acts introduced since this story, which are there to safeguard animal welfare, which is good on their part. But they also explain their story well enough to illustrate how times were very different in the years where one could buy a lion at Harrods!

The tale was amusing and heartwarming. For an animal lover, the glossy colour photographs dispersed throughout the book are a big attraction. (Guilty as charged; this was what made me purchase the book!)

I imagine this book to be a hit with those who love animals. I’m not sure how it is received by the general reader who doesn’t have a particular interest in animals, as I find the book to be written very much as a re-telling of the events revolving around Christian rather than any intricately weaved novel you might expect when reading fiction. ( )
1 vote MichelleAmanda | Jan 30, 2011 |
Christian was an amazing lion, but I was saddened to find out that we don't know the ending of the story. In a way, the YouTube ending is almost fitting, and it gives us something to believe and dream in.
  latinothompson | Nov 4, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Bourkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rendall, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Adamson, GeorgeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Christian and our families who never met him
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No zoo is complete without lions.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767932307, Hardcover)

Book Description
In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.

A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up--fast--and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions.

Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.

A Look Inside A Lion Called Christian

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Christian with Mark at Todd's Hairdressers in the World's End Football in the Moravian Close John, Christian, and Ace relaxing at Leith Hill

Easter, 1970 Ace (left) and John (right) with Christian on The King's Road, Chelsea





(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A wondrous, serendipitous tale that tracks Christian's migration from London streets to Kenyan wilderness and the new friends, both lion and human (notably lion expert George Adamson of Born Free fame) that he finds there. Most astonishing, however, is that in 1971, after a year's absence, his old friends Bourke and Rendall returned to Africa and successfully reunited with Christian.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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