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Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds Paperback – May 16, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0375714382 ISBN-10: 0375714383 Edition: Anniversary

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; Anniversary edition (May 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714382
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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

Review

"Moving and incredible, [with] some of the most extraordinary photographs ever seen."
--The New York Times

"Elsa and the Adamsons are ideal figures in a peaceable kingdom."
--The New Yorker

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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When I saw this book available I wanted to read it before once again viewing a favorite movie of my childhood.
One Opinion
This is one of my favorite books I ever read, very entertaining and a beautiful story about the strong connection between a girl and lioness.
Sempare
Joy Adamson captures not only Elsa's story, but the Adamson's love of Africa, the people,the animals, the land itself.
Karen Newcombe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Karen Newcombe on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
When I was a child, Born Free had been recently published and made into a movie. I must have read the book twenty times, and it has had a lifelong impact on me.
Joy Adamson captures not only Elsa's story, but the Adamson's love of Africa, the people,the animals, the land itself. Through Born Free I learned of the complex personalities and emotions that animals have, just as we do. I learned that there are many ways to live your life - a job, a family and a suburb are not the only options.
Through the difficulty the Adamson's had in finding a suitable wild home for Elsa, that I learned that the world is under tremendous pressure from human expansion, and became conscious of our responsiblity to ensure survival for creatures who cannot speak to defend themselves against our incursions.
Born Free is sometimes treated as a children's book - as though that were some reflection of diminished quality. But the ideas and values I absorbed as a girl from Joy and George Adamson, from Elsa and her cubs, were complex and important -- they have been with me my whole life.
And I would bet that dozens of notable careers in wildlife preservation, ecological studies, veterinary medicine and zoology, were inspired by a visit to the movies one afternoon to see the story of Elsa, or by a dogeared library copy of Born Free with it's bright yellow jacket.
This is a wonderful, captivating book, which can be read for simple enjoyment. But I also hope that it touches people as deeply it touched me, and engenders some interest and concern -- if not active help -- for the tremendous difficulties the people and wildlife of Africa are facing today.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. McRae on May 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Animals have always been a favorite topic of mine, but as a young person who just happened to find a copy of this book some 39 years ago, with the cover torn off, I consider it one of the great discoveries of my life. It was summertime, and I was headed to the 7th grade. I wasn't much of a reader until that momentous day. The story of Elsa and the Adamsons totally transported me to another place, and many wondrous adventures in Africa. Due much to this book, I now am a voracious reader. The story is heartwarming, and is the reason I insisted my 7th grade son read it for his current book report.

Whether you're 9 or 99, Elsa's antics and her loving bond with Joy and George will capture your heart. I guarantee it. And with Africa's Lion population dwindling to probably less than 30,000 today, I can't think of a more timely book, in honour of conserving their remaining habitat. Especially when one considers that Africa had over 100,000 Lions when I first read it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful story that crosses all generations. It is a story of triumph and discovery of a species. I would recommend everyone read all of her animal story books. She has contributed a great deal to knowledge of these animals and conservation of wildlife.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By shoutgrace on June 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
My first introduction to the Born Free books when I was a child learning to read in school. And what a great introduction to reading it was. The story of Elsa and the Adamsons who saved her life as a cub along with her sisters and raised her brought me into a world of wanting to be there with all the animals and see Africa. This seemed to be treated more as a children's book in my time than an adult book. The idea of the book was to teach people the importance of environmental conservation awareness. The first book, tells Elsa's early life from a cub raised by Joy and George Adamson and their pet rock hyrax, Pati. Joy is Elsa's surrogate mom and with great pains to teach Elsa the skills to survive in the wild. With lots of work Joy did it with success that Elsa was capable of living in the wild again. They released her near her birthplace and hoping Elsa would find and connect with her pride-in which she did. There is the tragedy not long afterward I had read this amazing story that Elsa had died in the Kenya bush of disease. Something of life that I learned early in my life that it was reality in the wilds of Africa or anywhere for that matter. But the cycle of life lives on in Elsa's pride. Still another grim incident ended the lives of Joy and George Adamson. Both were found murdered.

Joy Adamson has left behind a legacy of these fascinating books that moves us to treat our world with respect and have a better understanding between human-animal relationship. Joy Adamson before her death had also written, 'Living Free: Elsa and her Cubs' and 'Forever Free: Elsa's Pride.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Marshall on January 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Born Free" is about an orphaned lion cub, named Elsa. Elsa grows up with a game warden, his wife, and thier safari crew in northern Kenya, Africa. Joy Adamson,the game warden's wife, mainly raises Elsa herself. The book describes thier strong bond and crazy adventures throughout Elsa's life.
This book is very enjoyable to read, and the pictures are a delight to look at. It is exciting to read about Elsa interacting with the other wild animals and then going home at night to a totally different world. This book was extremely hard to put down, and I would recomend it to all animal lovers.
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