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A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion

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Author: Anthony Bourke

Published: March 3rd 2009 by Broadway Books (first published 1971)

Format: Hardcover , 226 pages

Isbn: 9780767932301

Language: English


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In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild. A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Ant In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild. A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions. Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.

30 review for A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    The memoir A Lion Called Christian, tells the real life story of the lion cub purchased by two men from the window of Harrod’s department store in London. That’s right, bought from the store like a puppy. This was 1969. Obviously things were different then. Not to say that this sort of thing doesn’t occur in the world today, but from a downtown store?! I’m not downing the two men, Ace & John, for purchasing him because they did right by this lion. After realizing they could no longer care for the The memoir A Lion Called Christian, tells the real life story of the lion cub purchased by two men from the window of Harrod’s department store in London. That’s right, bought from the store like a puppy. This was 1969. Obviously things were different then. Not to say that this sort of thing doesn’t occur in the world today, but from a downtown store?! I’m not downing the two men, Ace & John, for purchasing him because they did right by this lion. After realizing they could no longer care for the ever growing cub, they accepted the offer of a rehabilitation program that would return Christian to the wilderness of Africa. Many may have seen a little Youtube video about these two men reuniting with their cub one year after giving him up. I saw that video on a television program some years ago. When I noticed this book cover in the library, I immediately remembered that show. Here’s this big lion running towards two guys on the plains of Africa, and then leaping onto their shoulders and nuzzling his face to theirs. They had been separated for 10 months, but Christian remembered them as if only a day had passed. Chokes me up just thinking about it. Oddly enough, Christian’s birthday was August 12th. If he were alive today, he would be 47 years old. It’s just a coincidence that I picked up this CD book from the library on this date. After listening to the book, I watched the video again. The clip says that Christian had been fully integrated back into the wild, but according to the book, he still had occasional contact with the human rehabilitator. He can be seen in the clips. Ace & John saw their lion one last time in 1973, about a year following the first reunion. His mane nearly full now, Christian has become the leader of his own pride, yet he had not forgotten. The pride left the area sometime after that, so we don’t know what eventually became of Christian. I’m glad he was back where he belonged.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Edwina Callan

    This is the heartwarming tale of 2 men and the lion that they bought in the pet department of Harrods. Easily read in about 4 hours and full of beautiful photographs. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Thomas

    Such a good book! Loved it! Good read and great story!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    Heartwarming and very interesting. I had seen at least one documentary about Christian the Lion before reading this, and it was lovely to reacquaint myself with the story. The photos are excellent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    Beautiful history of Christian the Lion. I loved the story of the camp and their ongoing conservation efforts. A must-read for all animal lovers!

  6. 4 out of 5

    B.

    I apologize for generalizations in this review; I read the book a while ago and I have no interest in picking it up again to get quotes. This is one of the very few books I've read that I both could not put down and wanted frequently to throw against the wall. I couldn't stop reading because it's exactly the kind of story I enjoy: a unique non-fiction animal story. I saw the YouTube video of Christian and wanted to know more, and the book works very well when it's about Christian and his story. I apologize for generalizations in this review; I read the book a while ago and I have no interest in picking it up again to get quotes. This is one of the very few books I've read that I both could not put down and wanted frequently to throw against the wall. I couldn't stop reading because it's exactly the kind of story I enjoy: a unique non-fiction animal story. I saw the YouTube video of Christian and wanted to know more, and the book works very well when it's about Christian and his story. I absolutely adored the lion throughout the book, and it was wonderful to read about him gaining his freedom. (There are also some very nice pictures of Christian as a young lion living in captivity and from after he was freed.) Where the book fails when it talks about things not directly relating to the story of Christian. I recall quite a few mistakes, the biggest being the following: The author cites as proof for the wrongness of using big cats, bears and other wild animals in circuses and stage shows the incident during a Sigfried&Roy show when Roy Horn was near-fatally bitten by one of his tigers. Bourke calls it an "attack" when we know now the reality was more complicated and while it certainly brought home the danger of working with large wild animals, it seems far more likely the tiger did not injure Horn out of aggression. (To quote the page linked above: "Most experts on big cats agree that had Montecore intended to harm Roy, he would have grabbed him by the neck and shaken him, snapping his neck instantly.") I do not disagree with the idea of keeping wild animals out of such shows--in fact, I strongly agree. But far from a well thought out argument on the issue, or even a brief expression of the author's opinion, this was just a cheap shot that perpetuated a simplified and downright wrong understanding of a single incident. One wonders why an author and editor would release (or in this case, release an updated version) of a book without checking their facts. I would have enjoyed the book far more if it had stuck firmly to Christian's story. IMHO, if you really want to learn about the lion from that YouTube clip that made you cry, get this at the library. Or, if you live near me, I know you can find at least one copy a certain used book store.... ;) If you want to read a far better book about big cats in captivity from someone with much wider experience, I very much enjoyed Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa. It is far and away a better book on all fronts.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Casey

    Nearly everyone has seen that beautiful you tube video from the 70's of a wild lion running up to greet and cuddle two Australian men. - That lion was Christian, the men were John and Ace, who in their 20's went to London England and bought a lion cub from the worlds most famous department store Harrods. (Which had a pet/shop/zoo in it back then.) This is the story of how John and Ace met Christian, how they prepared a house in London for him with the knowledge that they would have to find him a Nearly everyone has seen that beautiful you tube video from the 70's of a wild lion running up to greet and cuddle two Australian men. - That lion was Christian, the men were John and Ace, who in their 20's went to London England and bought a lion cub from the worlds most famous department store Harrods. (Which had a pet/shop/zoo in it back then.) This is the story of how John and Ace met Christian, how they prepared a house in London for him with the knowledge that they would have to find him a suitable home for when he got bigger - That home was to be back in his homeland of Africa. This is their story, of their time with Christian and the love they have for him. They share an amazing bond, which transends all human encounters. Beautifully written little book which is aimed at level 4 school readers (and of course above :) It thas alot of little details about the struggle of owning a lion, Christians mannerisms, how Christian was in films etc and the journey to transport him back to Africa and socialize him with other (wild) lions. It tells of some sad stories and how hard it was to adapt Christian with the wild lions and of course shares the unforgettable moment which has brought thousands of viewers of the you tube clip to tears. (inclusing me who has such a strong bond with my own pet) Lovely stroy that wont be forgotten. Also FULL OF BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS of Christian from a cub to a lion in the wild.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elleonora Tambunan

    This is to become another treasured book, as I got the used, first printing copy. And I was fortunate to obtain it for a cheap price from a not-so-popular website, only US$ 26 plus shipping from the UK. Had I ordered it from Amazone, the precisely similar copy would've cost me not less than US$ 78, not included shipment. I knew about Christian the lion firstly from YouTube. Later on I learned about the fascinating life his previous owners had with him, before he became too large for them to keep This is to become another treasured book, as I got the used, first printing copy. And I was fortunate to obtain it for a cheap price from a not-so-popular website, only US$ 26 plus shipping from the UK. Had I ordered it from Amazone, the precisely similar copy would've cost me not less than US$ 78, not included shipment. I knew about Christian the lion firstly from YouTube. Later on I learned about the fascinating life his previous owners had with him, before he became too large for them to keep in a London apartment. It was about time when they met Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the movie "Born Free", who subsequently helped them to bring Christian to Kenya, in the wild where he belonged to. The book isn't so thick, and is filled with an adequate number of pictures. Nothing really special about it, except that you can actually feel the sincere love and affection the writers-owners have for Christian. Readers will eventually understand the responsibility the ownership of an exotic pet carries: not only food and shelter, but most of all, his comfort and survival.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Not quite what I was expecting. This book was originally published in 1971, which I didn't discover until after I started listening to it. This tells the tale leading up to the infamous YouTube video of a lion embracing the men who raised him when they are reunited in Africa. I had thought this reunion came after quite some time, since the video just surfaced. I was quite disappointed to discover that Ace and John had gone to see Christian only a year after leaving him in Africa. For a true stor Not quite what I was expecting. This book was originally published in 1971, which I didn't discover until after I started listening to it. This tells the tale leading up to the infamous YouTube video of a lion embracing the men who raised him when they are reunited in Africa. I had thought this reunion came after quite some time, since the video just surfaced. I was quite disappointed to discover that Ace and John had gone to see Christian only a year after leaving him in Africa. For a true story, there is a surprising lack of details. We learn that Christian was bought by the two men in Harrod's and they raised him in a store basement in London. But not a whole lot is really said about the complexity of raising a lion - they mainly focus on the novelty and other people's reactions to him in the store. I was also quite disappointed to not learn more about what happened in Christian's life after he was released in Africa. Granted, he is now a wild lion and might prove difficult to track but it really makes the story feel empty to not know he flourished in the wild. Interesting but disappointing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Nothing can top the extraordinary footage available on YouTube. I mean, it comes with Whitney Houston's tearjerker "I'll always love you" ;-p. However, the filmed reunion between a gigantic lion and two Aussie guys piqued my curiosity. So it was nice to read the entire story, which comes with a satisfying amount of pictures. Nothing grandiloquent: just funny, simply-written, heartfelt and warm.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Inspiring true story about a lion, raised from a kitten to adulthood by 2 men, then taught how to be wild in Africa.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Piorier

    What a great story! It's a shame that only until recently has the world began to realize we must find a way to coexist and cherish all life forms, and even now, although we are getting better, is still a work in progress. A time when people were caught up in a materialistic life, consumed by egocentrism, not so long ago, owning exotic pets just to make a statement. There is always hope though, case and point. This is one success story, but, there are many more failures which don't hit the booksh What a great story! It's a shame that only until recently has the world began to realize we must find a way to coexist and cherish all life forms, and even now, although we are getting better, is still a work in progress. A time when people were caught up in a materialistic life, consumed by egocentrism, not so long ago, owning exotic pets just to make a statement. There is always hope though, case and point. This is one success story, but, there are many more failures which don't hit the bookshelves or your television screen. The story of Christian made a worldwide impact and not just once. There seemed to be many great people surrounding Christian and I am glad to see their efforts are still being recognized today. This is a great read. I picked up the book once and could not put it down. I believe there are a other stories of Christian that may also interest other audiences.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This is a wonderful story about two men who saved a lion cub from a probable life of circuses and spectatorship and returned him to his natural habitat, one he had never seen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Yajaira Santiago

    The book was very nice i really liked it. The two friends did everything to give christian a better life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julianna

    Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" A Lion Called Christian is a wonderful, almost serendipitous true story of how two friends from Australia purchased a lion cub from Harrod's Department Store in London in 1969, and about a year later were able to return him to the wild in Africa. Christian seemed like the most gentle, even-tempered lion one could ever hope to encounter. He also had a very big personality. From the moment the authors, Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall met Christian at Harro Reviewed for THC Reviews "4.5 stars" A Lion Called Christian is a wonderful, almost serendipitous true story of how two friends from Australia purchased a lion cub from Harrod's Department Store in London in 1969, and about a year later were able to return him to the wild in Africa. Christian seemed like the most gentle, even-tempered lion one could ever hope to encounter. He also had a very big personality. From the moment the authors, Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall met Christian at Harrod's they were completely taken with him. I think it was that immediate bond, perhaps coupled with a little bit of daring on their part and a little enjoyment of the novelty of owning an exotic pet that fueled their purchase of Christian. Even though they had fun with the latter, Ace and John were pretty realistic right from the start, knowing that they couldn't keep Christian forever, because he would eventually outgrow their living space. Almost from the moment they bought him, the friends began looking for suitable arrangements for Christian when the time came. They hated the idea of him being in a zoo or circus and were always looking for someplace where he could be in a more natural habitat. The area in which they worked seemed to be a draw for the wealthy and celebrities, and as luck would have it, the pair had the good fortune to meet Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, the stars of the motion picture, Born Free. Since making the movie, Bill and Virginia had been very involved in conservation efforts and making wildlife documentaries, and were able to get Ace and John in touch with George Adamson, the man who Bill had played in the movie. This set in motion a series of events which made it possible for Ace and John to return Christian to Africa to be rehabilitated into the wild. Ace and John wrote A Lion Called Christian after taking Christian to Africa. It was first published in 1971, but apparently the book was recently updated and re-released when the video clip of their reunion with Christian a year later went viral on YouTube. The idea that a lion could not only remember them, but greet them with the same affection and exuberance that he had shown when they lived together, after spending a year in the wild, was amazing. Although Christian had a couple of frightful moments that were a stark reminder of the wild creature that he was, thankfully, no one was seriously injured, and all in all, he sounded like a wonderful animal that it would have been a pleasure to know. I'm not sure what the practices were at that time, but nowadays, scientists would probably have tagged and/or put a tracker on him to trace his movements. At that time, George Adamson physically went out looking for the lions he was rehabilitating, and eventually lost track of Christian when the lion moved too far away. It would have been nice to know precisely what became of him. Unfortunately, we can only assume, but Christian's life was a pretty remarkable one for the three years that humans knew and interacted with him. There was also a documentary made in conjunction with Christian's exodus from England and reintroduction to his natural habitat which I hope to see at some point. It seems that Christian was an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact, and through this book, I was no exception. I've always loved animal stories and this one was a quick and easy read. I think older children and up could appreciate its message of friendship, loyalty, love and trust, as well as the importance of ecology and keeping wild animals wild. I'm so glad to see that George Adamson's work in wildlife conservation has continued, and Ace and John are involved in those efforts. Reading this book has also stirred my interest in checking out Born Free. I highly recommend A Lion Called Christian to all animal lovers, especially those who are interested in big cats and wildlife in general. It's definitely one that will be going on my keeper shelf.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raghu

    This is an endearing book on the improbable story of a couple of long-haired, bell-bottom-wearing Australians in the late 1960s, buying a three-month old lion cub from the departmental store 'Harrods' in London and the subsequent life of the three of them till they successfully rehabilitate the grown up cub in the northern plains of Kenya. I saw the superb one-hour Documentary under the same title about a year ago and was so captivated by it that I watched it again and again many times. Then, a This is an endearing book on the improbable story of a couple of long-haired, bell-bottom-wearing Australians in the late 1960s, buying a three-month old lion cub from the departmental store 'Harrods' in London and the subsequent life of the three of them till they successfully rehabilitate the grown up cub in the northern plains of Kenya. I saw the superb one-hour Documentary under the same title about a year ago and was so captivated by it that I watched it again and again many times. Then, a friend of mine suggested that I buy the book as well because it is even better. I guess he might have read the book first and seen the movie later. For me, the movie experience was as wonderful, if not better, than the book. 'Ace' Bourke and John Rendall wander into the 'Harrods' store sometime in 1969 and on a whim, decide to buy a lion cub they see. They bring it 'home' to their small apartment in Chelsea in suburban London and name it Christian. The cub was barely three months old when they buy it but being a lion cub, starts growing quickly. Within six to eight months, the loving owners start feverishly looking for a 'good life' for Christian away from the cramped apartment. They feel that giving him to a zoo would be gross betrayal of Christian's faith in them after the relatively 'free' existence he led with the boys. Giving him to a circus was unthinkable obviously. Ace and John agonise over Christian's future when suddenly, they get an offer from George Adamson of the 'Born Free' fame, to try and rehabilitate Christian in northern Kenya with his own pride of lions. The rest of the book is about how Christian goes to Kenya and how eventually he is rehabilitated and enjoys freedom in Kenya. One of the wonderful moments in the story occurs when Ace and John go back to Kenya a year after leaving Christian. They go looking for Christian in the northern plains with George Adamson and call out to Christian. Even after a whole year's absence, the lion comes bounding up to them and greets them lovingly. It is wonderful to see such affection between the three of them. Ace and John are conscious of the importance of departmental stores not selling exotic 'pets' like Christian because it will only encourage paochers in trapping animals and selling them to stores. I hope this book and the film make people realize how much the animals are like us in love and affection. It is easy to appreciate such feelings in splendid, exotic animals like the lion and the elephant or the dolphin or even the cat and dog. In Western culture, similar benefit is not given to 'dumb' animals like the cow or the goat or the chicken. But families which rear cattle like cows and buffaloes, know very well that they too show great love and affection towards the family members of their household. I hope this book will let people develop compassion towards all animals, birds and reptiles in the same way one feels for exotic animals like Christian.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Christian was captivating and touching. In the late '60's, these two gentlemen from Australia found him and couldn't pass him up so they bought him at Harrods Department Store in London on a whim, a very expensive one. I was moved to read thier experiences of how they took care of him, and what they went through to help him maintain good health, keep him safe and try to provide some sense of happiness for thier lion friend. It really is remarkable the love and bond this lion had with Anthony(Ace Christian was captivating and touching. In the late '60's, these two gentlemen from Australia found him and couldn't pass him up so they bought him at Harrods Department Store in London on a whim, a very expensive one. I was moved to read thier experiences of how they took care of him, and what they went through to help him maintain good health, keep him safe and try to provide some sense of happiness for thier lion friend. It really is remarkable the love and bond this lion had with Anthony(Ace) and John. I loved the dynamic of their remarkable friendship as well. You also grasp a sense at how dangerous it was for them to own a lion and they share their concerns. They honestly realize how lucky and one of a kind their whole experience was. I had been wanting to read this book since I saw it in Wal-Mart when it first came out but I really didn't know much about it. So, I looked up some reviews and found that for the most part they were positive. Then I happened upon the 1971 YouTube reunion that John and Ace had with Christian and felt very moved to see of their bond with him. So, I put the book on hold at the library right away. When I received the book, I read it quite fast. I enjoyed how their story unfolded and all of the people who became associated with Christian. I felt a sense of how they of how much Christian meant to each of them. It was so different for everyone since they were dealing with a wild animal. I'm glad that George Adamson came into Christian's life and all of his effort to rehabilitate Christian back into Africa. George was a very unique person brimming with personality that I'll find hard to forget for a long time. I also appreciated the message he was trying to share about conservation efforts and rehab of wild animals. He dedicated his life to this cause and it feels that he truly loved it. Overall, this is a beautiful story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Many months ago I found myself inextricably bawling over the video of Christian the lion. I had heard about it, and just figured it was another viral email until I saw a clip of it on TV. I had no idea why I was crying...it was just one of those moments that seemed so huge- so far beyond what we're able to experience in society, that it HAD to move you to tears. It didn't help that I was already deeply interested in unique human-animal interactions. The story of Timothy Treadwell ("Grizzly Man") Many months ago I found myself inextricably bawling over the video of Christian the lion. I had heard about it, and just figured it was another viral email until I saw a clip of it on TV. I had no idea why I was crying...it was just one of those moments that seemed so huge- so far beyond what we're able to experience in society, that it HAD to move you to tears. It didn't help that I was already deeply interested in unique human-animal interactions. The story of Timothy Treadwell ("Grizzly Man") had always fascinated me, but I was going through a really heavy Treadwell period just before I stumbled upon the video- so I was already in that mindset of being deeply moved by these interactions that seem to go defy reason. Crying over sappy animal moments had been the norm! Anyways- I decided to check and see if there was a book about Christian, and stumbled upon this. Apparently it was just released, as I happened to catch Ace & John on the Today show recently. As for the book itself- I was somewhat disappointed. The writing was lacking and often felt repetitive. The first half, although very cute, ended up being relatively boring for me. It was only once they started to integrate Christian back into the wild that my interest really started to peak. With that being said, I really hate to give this 3 stars. It's a beautiful story, but the book itself just felt a bit messy. If you can make it through the first half, and make it through the repetition, it ends up being a pretty good read- but I'm not sure it's 4-star quality. 3.5 :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tarissa

    This is the interesting tale of a young lion, brought up in England as a pet, and then released into the African wild. It's a tale of love and affection. This book shows how one of Earth's carnivorous man-eaters can be, in fact, man's friend -- and even then still have the instinct to blend into the natural habitat of his ancestors. Learning about Christian the lion's amazing journey from a department store in England (yes, exotic pets were actually for sale in a store, or at least back in 1969! This is the interesting tale of a young lion, brought up in England as a pet, and then released into the African wild. It's a tale of love and affection. This book shows how one of Earth's carnivorous man-eaters can be, in fact, man's friend -- and even then still have the instinct to blend into the natural habitat of his ancestors. Learning about Christian the lion's amazing journey from a department store in England (yes, exotic pets were actually for sale in a store, or at least back in 1969!)... and watching that lion grow up, until he finally traveled across the ocean to Kenya and had completely new experiences there. I do so wish there was even more to this story, such as in the finer details of feeding and taking care of a lion cub as it grows. But I am certainly glad that Ace and John wrote about their unique experience with a lion -- so that we can all think about the courage it took to raise a lion in the city, and how amazing it would be if given the chance ourselves. Or, at least, that was the direction my thoughts went in! Lions somehow seem a little cuddlier to me after reading this -- but of course I'll still be keeping my distance. Make sure to watch the video of the dramatic reunion of Ace, John, and their pet-turned-wild, if you've haven't seen it yet. Anyone with a special place in their heart for furry friends would enjoy this book... it would even make a great gift to a fellow animal-lover. "A Lion Called Christian" is INCREDIBLE.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I was utterly taken with this true story of Christian, a lion purchased as a cub in London, who as he grew too large for his surroundings, was then shipped to Africa for a chance at freedom in the wild. Animal lovers, after they rid themselves of the question "why would any city dweller buy a lion cub in the first place?" will become enthralled with the actual story as it happened. This all took place in the early 1970's, and this book has been re-released and updated in response to the large nu I was utterly taken with this true story of Christian, a lion purchased as a cub in London, who as he grew too large for his surroundings, was then shipped to Africa for a chance at freedom in the wild. Animal lovers, after they rid themselves of the question "why would any city dweller buy a lion cub in the first place?" will become enthralled with the actual story as it happened. This all took place in the early 1970's, and this book has been re-released and updated in response to the large number of viewers of the YouTube video documenting the authors' reunion with Christian (both one and two years later) which became a viral sensation. I just googled and watched it, and wept myself, even knowing what would happen. I enjoyed the honesty of Christian's owners in this version of the book, who while admitting it was perhaps a rash and whimsical decision to bring such a huge wild animal into their lives, ultimately did an amazing thing for the animal that they grew to love. If you love animals, and especially if you've ever seen the movie Born Free, you might fall in love with Christian's story also. I will remember it for a long time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Holiday

    I'll write this from a slightly different perspective. Everyone who has seen and enjoyed the video (but didn't cry or weep or have some other strange reaction) is probably wondering: ok, but is the book any good? The answer is yes. It is well organized, fun, interesting and wonderfully written. Rendall and Rourke are also surprisingly self-aware. They admit numerous times that owning a lion was a dangerous, one-in-a-lifetime decision that they were lucky to escape positively. Their story is one th I'll write this from a slightly different perspective. Everyone who has seen and enjoyed the video (but didn't cry or weep or have some other strange reaction) is probably wondering: ok, but is the book any good? The answer is yes. It is well organized, fun, interesting and wonderfully written. Rendall and Rourke are also surprisingly self-aware. They admit numerous times that owning a lion was a dangerous, one-in-a-lifetime decision that they were lucky to escape positively. Their story is one that is so strangely fascinating that it's shocking to think it happened as recently as the 1970s. They were selling lions in department stores back then? It feels like a different world. This is probably why the book is so fun to read - it is a rare mix of exotic animals, nostalgia, British and Hollywood glamour and a love story. Again, for the skeptical or the curious, this book is worth reading and will be enjoyed. Just keep the anticipation to the minimum as A Lion Called Christian is a short read that you'll burn through quickly.It's better if you can appreciate that moment than be disappointed by its brevity.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Kramer

    If you love animals, you will love this book. If you have watched the reunion story on YouTube, you will love this book. Christian was a remarkable lion. For being born in captivity from generations of zoo lions the delightful cub was raised with love until he was able to be sent to Kenya to spend his life as a "wild" lion. The fact that he was able to act and react to other lions appropriately shows how much instinct there is and the fact that he was able to act and react to humans appropriatel If you love animals, you will love this book. If you have watched the reunion story on YouTube, you will love this book. Christian was a remarkable lion. For being born in captivity from generations of zoo lions the delightful cub was raised with love until he was able to be sent to Kenya to spend his life as a "wild" lion. The fact that he was able to act and react to other lions appropriately shows how much instinct there is and the fact that he was able to act and react to humans appropriately shows how much learned behavior can do. It is a heartwarming story and I am so pleased that the book has been updated and republished. These magnificent creatures are a trust given to us and it is our responsibility to make it possible for them to continue to thrive. Sadly, there are only a third as many lions in Kenya as there were when Christian was rehabilitated, nearly forty years ago. One can only hope that there are still lions in the wild in another forty years. It may not be the best-written book, but the story deserves five stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This wasn't a remarkably well written book, but I enjoyed it for the simple fact that I have always loved animal books. As a kid I remember going through a whole string of equally as unimaginatively named true animal stories such as A Seal Called Andre, Rascal, and That Quail, Robert. There is just something amazing to me about human relationships with wild animals. As an adult, some of my recent other animal reads include Modoc (Elephant) and Zamba (Lion). A Lion Called Christian was originally This wasn't a remarkably well written book, but I enjoyed it for the simple fact that I have always loved animal books. As a kid I remember going through a whole string of equally as unimaginatively named true animal stories such as A Seal Called Andre, Rascal, and That Quail, Robert. There is just something amazing to me about human relationships with wild animals. As an adult, some of my recent other animal reads include Modoc (Elephant) and Zamba (Lion). A Lion Called Christian was originally written in the early 1970s, but somehow I missed it in my childhood animal book phase. It has been updated and republished after the youtube video of the reunion of Christian and the young men who had purchased him.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Who would believe that at one time Herrod's store housed exotic animals, and sold them to the public? As sad as that is to believe, it is probably even harder to believe that people bought them! This story unfolds when John and Ace fell in love with a young, male lion cub named Christian, bought him at Herrod's, and took him to the furniture store, aptly named Sophistocat, where they both work. Both men knew that Christian, the young, adorable lion cub, would soon grow to be Christian, the full-g Who would believe that at one time Herrod's store housed exotic animals, and sold them to the public? As sad as that is to believe, it is probably even harder to believe that people bought them! This story unfolds when John and Ace fell in love with a young, male lion cub named Christian, bought him at Herrod's, and took him to the furniture store, aptly named Sophistocat, where they both work. Both men knew that Christian, the young, adorable lion cub, would soon grow to be Christian, the full-grown lion. As a result, their thoughts were on the future, and the eventual release of Christian into the African wilds where he belongs. Ironically, those who help in that venture are the same people who share a similar story of Elsa, the lion who inspired the book and movie "Born Free".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Two young Australian men vacationing in London buy a lion from Harrods. They decide to name him Christian, as lions ate Christians for amusement in Rome. Although these young men had no knowledge how to rear a lion, they did an amazing job. Times were very different in the early 70's, Christian would play in the shop with his owners or customers, he also was allowed to exercise in a local park. Fortunately, when he became too large and powerful, he was sent to Africa for rehabilitation to surviv Two young Australian men vacationing in London buy a lion from Harrods. They decide to name him Christian, as lions ate Christians for amusement in Rome. Although these young men had no knowledge how to rear a lion, they did an amazing job. Times were very different in the early 70's, Christian would play in the shop with his owners or customers, he also was allowed to exercise in a local park. Fortunately, when he became too large and powerful, he was sent to Africa for rehabilitation to survive in the wild. A great story and video to watch on YouTube!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jen K

    I was disappointed with this book...I thought for sure a book about an animal and it's attachment to humans would have me hooked, but the writing was just too plain and boring. The authors have a great idea but failed to make it come to life. I would have liked to use it in my classroom as an informational read aloud, but not sure if I will.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I still have not seen the youtube video of this reunion, but this was a pretty intersting read. It was quick and easy to get through. Oddly enough, it was just what I was in the mood for, without even realizing it. It certainly does seem as if fate had a special purpose for this animal. It is a touching and uncanny story about the love between man and beast; definately worth a look.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This book was really interesting and I found it fascinating to read about how Christian the lion was raised and then rehabilitated into the wild. It was quite short and to the point, but I would recommend it if you are at all interested in animals! And if you don't read it, at least watch the YouTube video of Christian's reunion with his owners!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kat (Lost in Neverland)

    This book and story is incredible. It's the story of Christian the lion, the story behind the Youtube reunion. Christian is bought by two young men in London, England and form an inseparable bond. Through the struggles they face raising and caring for a lion, the reward is priceless. An amazing tale of the love and affection animals can have on humans and themselves.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bxrlover

    I just can't keep reading about how this animal was deprived of a normal, natural life and how stupid these guys were to endanger themselves and countless others by having a LION as a pet. Have to quit reading this one.

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