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A Lion Called Christian

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  5,772 Ratings  ·  526 Reviews
In 2008, 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
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published 2009 by Transworld Publishers Ltd
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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
Neli Krasimirova
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Bu kitabı yıllar önce tatilde kitapsızlıktan kırıldığım bir sırada süpermarketten almıştım, çok fazla seçeneğim yoktu ve iyi çıkması için dua ediyordum. Çok iyi çıktı.
Christian egzotik hayvan sevdalılarına satılmak üzere vitrine konmuş bir meta iken iki hayvansever arkadaş tarafından sahiplenilmek üzere satın alınır. Kitap, başlayan bu arkadaşlığı ve birlikte yaşama hikayelerini fotoğraflarla anlatmaktadır. Kitap ilerlerken Christian'ın ergenliğini, yelelerinin uzamasını ve en sonunda yetişkin b
Frogy (Ivana)
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
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.
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring true story about a lion, raised from a kitten to adulthood by 2 men, then taught how to be wild in Africa.
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.
Yajaira Santiago
The book was very nice i really liked it. The two friends did everything to give christian a better life.
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction, memoire
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
Mar 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, read-in-2009
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 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")
Kerry Connelly
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
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
Dec 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Ryan Holiday
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Barbara Kramer
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Jen K
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
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.
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.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
May 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quit
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.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became totally obsessed with this book, story, videos, documentaries, related books, etc. Love!
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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
More about Anthony Bourke...

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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.” 3 likes
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