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A Lion Called Christian

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  4,485 ratings  ·  439 reviews
In 2008, YouTube.com featured an extraordinary film clip that soon became an internet phenomenon. It showed the emotional reunion of two young men and their pet lion, Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free's George Adamson, who would introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.





A Lion Called Christian relates how Anthony 'Ace' Bourke and John Renda
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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published 2009 by Transworld Publishers Ltd (first published January 1st 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 ...more
Lenje
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
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Loederkoningin
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.
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 ...more
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")
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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 ...more
Julianna
Aug 17, 2011 Julianna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers Especially Those Who Like Big Cats & Wildlife
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
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Fiona
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.
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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
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Kerry Connelly
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
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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 ...more
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
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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
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Hlogan
I became totally obsessed with this book, story, videos, documentaries, related books, etc. Love!
Robin
Sep 28, 2009 Robin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Julie
Shelves: book-club
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.
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.
Sarah Thomas
‘A Lion Called Christian’ is a true story by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall and it is incredible! If you haven’t seen the Christian the lion reunion on youtube, the two minute clip referred to above, then you MUST watch it. The book is written by the two owners of Christian, who purchased him from the Harrod’s Department Store in London, from the exotic pets section in the 1970’s, to save him from a life of permanent and (possibly) harsh captivity. The story is full of anecdotes and is both hea ...more
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.
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!
Laurie
I wanted to read this book a long time ago when I saw the U-Tube video of Christian's reunion with his owners. Finally I was able to read it, and I loved it. I don't care for those wordy biographies which catalog everything a person has done in his or her life,and this one was not that type. It was geared into the relationship between the lion and his owners -- and then his life as he was being re-introduced to life in the wild. Also, this book was written by Christian's owners, the ones who bou ...more
Romi
More than anything else, I was annoyed with this book. Though in the end it may be a happy story, I couldn’t really enable myself to get past the fact that I felt the two young men who saw a lion in Harrods and decided on a whim to buy it, though they knew they wouldn’t be able to keep it for very long, was reckless and I felt at times like the men were trying to defend their actions in a way that didn’t feel genuine. It was a really interesting story, and the ending was, as a say, worth it, I s ...more
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.
Rachel
The writing was quite dry, and I found that I enjoyed the pictures more than anything. At times I had to convince myself to pick up the book, and only finished it because I love the true storyline.
Camille Dent
A little slow at times but ultimately a good read. I was really impressed with how well it is written, because I've learned not to expect much quality from inspirational books. However, the writing was eloquent and clever enough to be appreciated by adults yet simple enough to be understood by younger audiences. The actual story and characters are all enjoyable, but like many other reviewers have said, it's true that you won't really learn anything new from this book if you have watched the docu ...more
Courtney Vorce
the youtube video is much better than the book
Mayda
It seems incredible that a couple of guys from Australia would wander through a London department store and end up with a lion cub, but that is what happened. How they came to care and love Christian, teaching him to behave and to love them back makes for a fascinating story. Wanting more for their beloved lion than pacing behind bars in a zoo, they manage to connect Christian with the “father of lions,” George Adamson in Kenya. It was the best of all worlds for the wonderful lion. An entertaini ...more
Falon23

Falon Nethercott 12-18-14

ELA Green


A Lion Called Christian



This nonfiction narrative called, A Lion Called Christian, by Anthony Bourke & John Rendall, is a very emotional young adult novel, where two adults are coming from Australia and moving to London. These two men are Anthony Bourke & John Rendall. They are from Australia, and have great experience with animals. John and Ace decided to buy a optimistic and majestic lion cub named Christian. Some more main characters are Christian an
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Linda
I really enjoyed this book. A story of two friends in 1970's London who bought a lion cub from Herrods department store. It tells of how they raised him for about a year until he was too large to and they had to figure out a different life for him. A chance encounter with the stars of the then popular movie "Born Free" led them to meet the man who helped rehabilitate the lioness Elsa that the movie was about.

The friends, Ace and John, traveled to Africa with Christian to meet the man that would
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Diane
Like many people, I fell in love with the 2008 YOUTUBE sensation video about Christian the Lion; I watched it over and over again. In 2009, some 38 years after the book wasfirst published A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion, by Anthony Bourke and John Rendell was revised and updated with more than 50 photographs. The book was a huge success and it reached the top 10 list at Amazon.com in early 2009.

An uplifting story about man and beast b
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Jennie
I am not really sure where I saw this book recommended at but I added it to my list many moons ago. My hold finally came up via FLIP but I was surprised to see how short this book was. It was less of a book and more of a long report really.

I did enjoy the story though – it was full of heart and love for Christian. I never really forgot that he was a lion and how scary they could be, but for some of the story I could understand how they could snuggle and connect with Christian. I understood they
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It has been a busy year for Ace Bourke, co-author of A Lion Called Christian, who graduated with a Masters of Arts from the University of Wollongong this week.

His MA(R), titled Family Footprints: Tracing the Past in the Present through Curatorial Autobiographical Practice, examines a new form of "autobiographical" curatorship that evolved from three major museum exhibitions he has staged over the
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More about Anthony Bourke...
A Lion Called Christian Christian the Lion: My Story of How I Learned to Be Wild A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion

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“I felt confident that his inherited knowledge and instincts would soon assert themselves, given the chance, and in spite of his [lion] breeding. I must admit that I did not feel the same confidence about his two owners, when I heard they would accompany Christian [lion] and stay a few weeks at my camp. I was lead to believe they were very 'mod' with long hair and exotic clothing.” 2 likes
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