Born Free (Anglais) Broché – 4 juin 2010
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Joy and George Adamson were the first two people we know of who were able to introduce a tame lion back into the wild. Born Free is Joy's story about that project, and the one to protect Elsa's three half-wild cubs. The 50th anniversary edition of Born Free is the sum total of Joy Adamson's journalistic descriptions of daily life with Elsa over the years. Once I had the idea of Elsa's duality, her habits, and how Adamson related to her and helped her, I found the rest of the book repetitive and at times tedious and too subjective.
If you want the whole story of Born Free, watch the great BBC documentary, The Born Free Legacy (2010). Whereas Adamson focuses entirely on the lions in her book, the documentary does this but also covers the incredible worldwide reaction to the book, the beginning of natural history channels and interest in wildlife in general the book helped to spark, the interesting lives of the authors and their rough marriage, the controversy about the way Adamson overused anthropomorphism, and the eventual grim murder of the authors and her husband.
If you watch that documentary, and find a way to read the original, much shorter Born Free, you've got the whole incredible story and you've spent less hours than you would if you only read the book. Even if you do insist on reading the book, I think you'll find that Adamson's explanation of Elsa's behaviors is a little too subjective given the rigor you've become used to in the last few decades of animal research. I'm not sure anyone today would claim that an animal is apologetic, or embarrassed, or proud, as easily as Adamson does. It was distracting, and hurt Adamson's credibility in my eyes.
Finally, someone else noted that all the great pictures are missing from the Kindle edition. Dude. I'm telling you, just watch the BBC documentary.
I originally read all three books in the Born Free series when I was about fourteen. Had I reviewed them then, I would have given each book five stars. Unfortunately, this series hasn't aged well.
First, there's the packaging. I purchased the Kindle 50th Anniversary Edition, called "Born Free: The Full Story." Nowhere (that I could find) does the publisher state exactly what you are purchasing. As near as I can tell, this version includes "Born Free," "Living Free," and "Forever Free" all in one book, with the introductions of the second two books removed. The book names are missing and simply called Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. If I had the print versions of the actual books, I could compare, but there's only so much effort I'm willing to put into a review.
Also, the photos are hidden in the back and not mentioned on the Contents Page. My guess is that the majority of readers will never find the photos.
As I started reading the book, I became hooked. The first part is a great story. But as the story went on, I had to keep convincing myself that the parts that made me cringe were "historical." Then, shortly into what I think was the second book, I gave up.
1) During their lives (both are dead now) Joy Adamson and her husband, George, maintained a reputation for being conservationists, but I have never subscribed to the theory of conservation-through- killing. Joy mentioned how much they hated killing animals, but then recounted what seemed like daily animal killings at the end of George's gun. At first the killings were justified, to help Elsa (though excessively so, as once George even killed three animals to leave at separate locations for Elsa), but elsewhere George shoots other animals, such as a crocodile and an "aggressive" cobra.
2) George's job was as a game warden, in charge of stopping poaching. I'm a huge supporter of eliminating poaching, but in the Born Free series it seemed as if poaching rules only applied to blacks. Time after time when an unknown black person appeared in the book, Joy Adamson's next sentence was to accuse that person of being a poacher. Perhaps she was right. But why was it okay for George to casually shoot a crocodile and then a few days later arrest a tribesman for doing the same thing?
3) Eventually the book just became redundant: look for Elsa; find Elsa; kill something for Elsa; leave Elsa for a few days, and repeat. I found myself mentally screaming at the pages: "Elsa is a wild lion now. You did your job. It's time to let her go!" But obviously if the Adamson's left Elsa alone, there wouldn't be any sequels to the first book.
Finally, when Joy Adamson berated her cook/servant for not "following her instructions" when preparing her plum pudding on Christmas Eve, I had enough and dumped out of the book. I just wasn't enjoying the way she treated non-white people and animals other than lions (she even called hyenas "sinister").
In the early 1960s, the Born Free series was ahead of its time, but now I think anyone who respects people of different races and/or animals of different species would find it difficult to enjoy these books. If you do read them, the best way to do so is by repeating to yourself throughout the pages: "I'm reading this as a historical document. I'm reading this as a historical document. I'm reading this as a historical document. . . ."
Marty Essen, author of "Endangered Edens" (to be published in January 2016)
and Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents
I hope the other two books soon become available on the kindle.
These creatures are not just "mindless beasts"- maybe none of them are.
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