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by Joy Adamson
ISBN 0375714383 / 9780375714382 / 0-375-71438-3
Publisher Random House Inc
List price $14.95
› Find signed collectible books: 'Born Free'
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 [via]