RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

A Lion Called Christian, by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall (Read by John Lee)

Harrod's in London is known as the department store where anything can be purchased for a price. Perhaps one of the most priceless objects ever sold there was the lion called Christian. In 1969, two young Australian men purchased a lion cub, named him Christian and raised him for more than 5 months. Although Christian was gentle and loving with them, they knew that as he grew he would become potentially dangerous and that they would not be able to keep him. Zoos, cages and circuses were not options the two would consider, and when the boys met the couple who starred in the movie "Born Free," the idea of returning Christian to Africa was devised. George Adamson, author of Born Free and an expert in lion behavior, agreed to help Christian adjust to the wild and a story that would reach, touch and teach the world was born. The two young men, Ace and John, left Christian in Kenya in George's care and returned to visit him after a year. Their remarkable reunion was filmed as part of a documentary and Ace and John told the story of their life with Christian, publishing the original version of this book in 1971.

In 2008, a two minute clip of Christian's reunion with Ace and John was set to music and anonymously posted on YouTube. Christian became an instant symbol of the overwhelming power of love and friendship. As the YouTube phenomenon spread around the world, ignoring language, cultural, age, ethnic, religious and economic barriers, Ace and John revised their original book, added new insights and released this 2009 version of A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion. The book sends a powerful message without being preachy. Since Christian's purchase and exposure, trafficking in the sale of exotic pets has been outlawed in most of the world. The authors describe the difficulties of trying to domesticate wild animals as pets while at the same time educating the reader about valuable programs that aid animals in the wild. They describe the steps that had to be taken to physically transport Christian to Kenya, but these obstacles were only the beginning. Christian had to be taught how to survive in the wild and how to become a member of a pride.

This audio book is a perfect gift for animal lovers of all ages. Christian's gift to the world is his example that when treated with love and kindness, natural enemies can become friends. The authors probably didn't plan to write a book that would inspire hopes for peace and concern for the preservation of the earth's wildlife, but they did. It's impossible to listen to this book about the love and trust between different animals without wondering how the lesson can be applied universally. This audio book is a very warm and touching tribute to man and his best friends of all species.

Ruth Mormon

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