Born Free: A LIONESS OF TWO WORLDS

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9780394746357: Born Free: A LIONESS OF TWO WORLDS

There have been many tales of animals' return to the wild, but since its first publication in 1960, when the New York Times hailed it as a "fascinating and remarkable book," one stands alone as the most original and perhaps best-loved animal story. Born Free is a classic which traces the extraordinary development of the lion cub Elsa in transition between two radically different worlds. As it captures the spirit of humankind's ability to cross the barriers to the natural world, Joy Adamson's unique tale remains -- in these destructive times, with one ecological disaster following upon another -- an idyll to return to again and again. Illustrated with all the highly evocative photographs that initially stirred the world, and updated with a new introduction by Dr. George B. Schaller, Director of Wildlife Conservation for the New York Zoological Society and long-time acquaintance of the Adamsons, this large-sized paperback edition again renews one of the most remarkable associations between man and wild beast ever told.

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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:

There have been many accounts of the return to the wild of tame animals, but since its original publication in 1960, when the New York Times hailed it as a "fascinating and remarkable book", Born Free has stood alone in its power to move us.

Joy Adamson's story of a lion cub in transition between the captivity in which she is raised and the fearsome wild to which she is returned captures the abilities of both humans and animals to cross the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their radically different worlds. Especially now, at a time when the sanctity of the wild and its inhabitants is increasingly threatened by human development and natural disaster, Adamson's remarkable tale is an idyll, and a model, to return to again and again.

Illustrated with the same beautiful, evocative photographs that first enchanted the world forty years ago and updated with a new introduction by George Page, former host and executive editor of the PBS series Nature and author of Inside the Animal Mind, this anniversary edition introduces to a new generation one of the most heartwarming associations between man and animal.

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Joy Adamson
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