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Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life
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Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life

by Jennifer New
 

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Photojournalist Dan Eldon left behind much more than the astonishing illustrated journals that would form The Journey is the Destination when he lost his life at age twenty-two while on assignment in Somalia. He also bequeathed a life story that has inspired students, teachers, artists, and creative activists—as well as a forthcoming film, an apparel

Overview

Photojournalist Dan Eldon left behind much more than the astonishing illustrated journals that would form The Journey is the Destination when he lost his life at age twenty-two while on assignment in Somalia. He also bequeathed a life story that has inspired students, teachers, artists, and creative activists—as well as a forthcoming film, an apparel line, and the Spring 2011 collection from Tom's Shoes. Raised in Kenya, Dan grew up with a unique outlook on life. Through adventurous safaris and benevolent crusades around the world, he crafted a philosophy of curiosity, creativity, and charity. This unique visual biography showcases previously unpublished artwork from Dan's acclaimed journals, letters, and snapshots that takes readers on a journey through Dan's life and beyond, exploring the impact made by this remarkable artist on everyone who has encountered his story.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Will intrigue high school students, who will be fascinated by this adventurous spirit and the tragedy of a life cut short" - School Library Journal
VOYA - Florence Munat
When photojournalist Dan Eldon was beaten to death by a mob in Mogadishu in 1993, he left behind a legacy that belied his twenty-two years of life. That legacy includes his amazing, provocative journals comprised of photos, cartoons, gatefolds, postcards, road maps, posters, and other graphic art elements. This unique book resembles one of Eldon's journals, chronicling his life as a global citizen dedicated to social justice and charity. Born in London, he grew up in Nairobi and traveled widely in Africa, Europe, and the United States. While Eldon was no saint, his charisma enabled him to galvanize people into charitable enterprises such as raising funds for a classmate who needed heart surgery. Another time he convinced fourteen people to collect $20,000 for Malawian refugees and drive across Africa in a Land Rover named Deziree to deliver it in person. Eldon viewed his life as a mission to help others, and his motto—this book's title—refers to the Swahili definition of "safari" as an expedition or journey. His passion for travel, Africa, and art led him to a career as a photojournalist who took pictures or war, famine, and the political and social chaos in Somalia. After his death, friends and family established numerous programs and foundations dedicated to peace and justice in his memory. The book bulges with colorful, appealing collages. The text is secondary but amply tells the story of Eldon's inspirational life. Just seeing this book will make readers want to pick it up and flip through its pages again and again. And as they do so, respect for this young man's safari will grow in their hearts and minds and encourage them to live a better life. Reviewer: Florence Munat
Kirkus Reviews

Strictly for completists, this album combines new and previously published pages from the collage-filled notebooks of a 22-year-old photojournalist killed in Mogadishu in 1993, along with yet another account of his brief life and peregrinations.

Covering territory already surveyed in The Journey is the Destination (1997), compiled by Eldon's mother Kathy, and New's own Dan Eldon: The Art of Life (2001), this version leaves out direct references to Eldon's sexual exploits but again retraces in mapless, often eye-glazing detail his youth in Nairobi and his restless journeys around Africa and overseas up to his tragic death at the hands of an angry mob. The narrative text is tucked in and around full-page images of his busy, heavily worked collages—constructed from snapshots, found items, loose, emotional sketches, handwritten letters, scrawled comments and other materials, all jumbled together and all visually of a sameness. Bland tributes from associates ("I think he carried in him instinctive wisdom that bridged cultures and generations"), a lengthy closing tally of charity projects and workers inspired by his example (and added features like an iron-on transfer and foldout postcards that are only included with the trade edition) provide insufficient reason for teen readers to prefer this iteration over either of the earlier ones.

Surely by coincidence, a biopic starring Daniel Radcliffe is in development. (Biography. 13-18)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The short life of a talented young artist and traveler is chronicled amid reproductions of his art, photos, and journals. In 1993, at age 22, Eldon was in Somalia with a group of journalists photographing rebel violence when he was clubbed to death. The author portrays him as a charming, though imperfect, young man who falsified documents and sold trinkets from Morocco on the beach to fund his wanderlust. Committed to social causes, he and a group of peers raised money for Malawi refugees, only to have their contribution scoffed at as insignificant. He had a stint as a gofer on a film set in Kenya, fell in love, and had other adventures, but fate drew him to turbulent Somalia. Information about African politics and social realities are interspersed with Eldon's biography. The thick, glossy pages are filled with so many photographs and ephemera, such as postcards and clippings, that readers may browse without reading the handwritten letters and journal excerpts, which provide the real layers to Eldon's character. Somewhat reminiscent of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild (Villard, 1996), the book will intrigue high school students, who will be fascinated by this adventurous spirit and the tragedy of a life cut short.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811870917
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
10/12/2011
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

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Meet the Author

Jennifer New is the author of Dan Eldon: The Art of Life. She has worked extensively with Dan Eldon's family and friends to research his life story. Jennifer lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

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