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Cry of the Kalahari Paperback – October 15, 1992

4.5 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARK and DELIA OWENS are the authors of "Cry of the Kalahari", an international bestseller and winner of the Burroughs Medal, and "The Eye of the Elephant".

MARK and DELIA OWENS are the authors of "Cry of the Kalahari", an international bestseller and winner of the Burroughs Medal, and "The Eye of the Elephant".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (October 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395647800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395647806
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph McCauley on April 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Of the many books I've read about wildlife, this one sticks in my mind as one of the best, even though it's been several years since I first read it. Some books like George Schaller's "The Serengeti Lion" have more sceintific bent and therefore keep a 'professional distance' from the animals, while others such as those by Joy Adamson and Gareth Patterson become very personal with the animals and lose much of their objectivity. But Mark and Delia Owens find a happy medium between the two extremes, one where we learn a lot about the lions, brown hyenas and other animals they study in the Kalahari desert, but also come to know some of the individuals among these animals as friends.
We also get a taste of life in the Kalahari desert in the middle of Botswana, some of the hardships and life-threatening situations encountered by the Owenses. And we share the issues and concerns they tried to raise in the governments and landowners of the territories where they spent seven years living and studying animals.
At various times this book made me smile. It made me mad. It made me sad. It made me laugh. And it made me wish I could spend a few years of my life studying and living among wildlife as they did.
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Format: Paperback
This book has been out for many years, but I just finally got around to reading it. It holds a well-deserved place on the shelf of classic nature writing. Like this book's sequel, Eye of the Elephant (which I read several years ago), the Owens have written an incredible account of their experiences studying wildlife in Africa. Cry of the Kalahari is the story of their seven years in the Kalahari desert, living among the lions, hyenas, jackals, and myriad of other creatures that share this doomed habitat. The Owens' dedication and hard work are truly amazing and their insights into the lives of these animals are fascinating. As the authors write in their foreward to the book, it is not intended to be a authoritative scientific account of the Kalahari ecosystem, but a layman's introduction to the animals of this unique place on earth. For readers who enjoy nature writing, this should be on one's list of must-read books
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This book was absolutely fantastic. I laughed, I cried, and I felt like I was living in the Kalahari along with the authors and their wild friends. When I finished the book, I logged onto Amazon to see if the Owens' had written any more books on Africa. Couldn't find any, but I promise if they write any more, I will buy the hardback! Enjoy this wonderful book.
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It’s easy to see why Cry of the Kalahari was a bestseller. It reads like an old-fashioned melodrama from the 1930s - as if Mark and Delia Owens were channeling Edgar Rice Burroughs. Delia is trapped in a flimsy little tent by two huge lions! Jeepers! Delia and Mark are deep in the Kalahari desert without any water! Oh no! A raging wildfire is headed straight for their research camp! Good grief!

Will our intrepid duo survive these perils? Not to mention black mambas, surly rebels, and a diet of mealie-meal? Tune in next week, or in this case, keep turning the pages for another thrilling chapter!

Seriously though, as a retired scientist (who worked in a nice climate-controlled laboratory), I have tremendous admiration for what the Owens did in Botswana. Their dedication, perseverance, and attention to detail epitomize what field work is about. COTK is not an account of their research findings, but a personal account of what it was like out there.

There is good science here. Their discovery that brown hyenas breed communally was a fascinating achievement. As well, the Owens’ comparison of lion behavior in the Kalahari with that observed by Schaller in the Serengeti was very important. To have a comprehensive picture of a keystone predator like lions, we must know how they adapt to very different environments. Well done, Mark and Delia.
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Format: Paperback
This is an incredibly well written book for animal lovers, nature lovers, and environmentalists, and if you aren't any of the above, you will be. It shows how individual animals each have their own personality: shy, funny, mischievous, affectionate, docile. It proves how mankind is willing to sacrifice animals' lives and environment for the sake of money, be it diamond mining, hunting, cattle grazing, or whatever suits the wallet. Their should be more people who realize and are willing to try to do something about it, like Mark and Delia Owens.
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Format: Paperback
I found "Cry of the Kalahari" purely by change at the San Diego Zoo and bought a copy after reading the glowing reviews that were on the back of the book. I enthusiastically agree with the praise and plan to read their other books. In fact, I dropped the book I was currently reading in order to finish this one. I was immediately attracted to the story of two young Americans arriving in Africa with modest funds but determined to do research not previously attempted. The story is all-the-more compelling given the fact that they were going into an area that people tended to shun as too remove and not even slightly hospitable.

Mark and Delia Owens write incredibly well and do not waste words. They describe the animals, people and places with phrases that bring them to life.

A sample picked a random:

"A near total silence crept in on me when I opened my eyes and gazed at the Land Rover ceiling. A moment's confusion; where was I? I turned to the window. A gnarled acacia tree loomed outside, its limbs held up in silhouette against the grey sky. Beyond the tree, in soft easy lines, the wooded sand dunes descended to the riverbed. Morning, our first in Deception Valley, grew in the sky far beyond the dunes."

One could cite many examples that stimulate interest and draw the reader into the experience of Mark and Delia as the alternate the telling of the work. Also the values held by the authors that they will leave as little a footprint as possible is one shared by those serious about conservation, so we share in their decision and agonize with them when they have to make a tough decision.
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