If memoirs tend to divide between pure storytelling and confession, R. D. Lawrence's is a memorable example of the storyteller's art. A man of natural modesty, he weaves the threads of his life with an affecting diffidence that gracefully mantles the quite astonishing adventures it has embraced. The result is a splendid tale. Born in Spain in 1921, Lawrence was not yet fifteen when civil war broke out, stranding him in Barcelona after his family had been hastily evacuated and repatriated to England. Joining the ...
If memoirs tend to divide between pure storytelling and confession, R. D. Lawrence's is a memorable example of the storyteller's art. A man of natural modesty, he weaves the threads of his life with an affecting diffidence that gracefully mantles the quite astonishing adventures it has embraced. The result is a splendid tale. Born in Spain in 1921, Lawrence was not yet fifteen when civil war broke out, stranding him in Barcelona after his family had been hastily evacuated and repatriated to England. Joining the Republican forces in the hot and frightening summer of 1936, he would fight in its infantry until 1938 when, cut off and surrounded, he fled over the Pyrenees. But his war was far from over. In 1939 he enlisted in the British Army and a year later was among thousands of men resued at Dunkirk. By January 1941 he was in North Africa with the 7th Battalion of the Royal Tank Regiment of the British 8th Army, and it was there he fought, though twice wounded, until Rommel's defeat. Then, in June 1944, he was so severely wounded at Normandy that the doctors said he would "never walk properly again." Indeed, some pressed for amputation. R. D. Lawrence not only walked again, he went on to live a life of high adventure as a journalist, homesteader, and naturalist in the Canadian wilds. That this man for whom killing formed so central a fact of life should today be known as an outspoken defender of all wild creatures may seem contrary in the extreme. And yet, as his memoirs so eloquently attest, his interest in the natural world began almost as soon as he could walk and continued even during his most dangerous wartime experiences. Indeed, in some respects he owes his miraculous recovery from his war wounds to that passion for nature. Today, living in the Ontario backcountry with his wife, Sharon, and a menagerie that includes a wolf pack, R. D. Lawrence can take pride in the more than twenty books he has written on animals and animal behavior and, as well, on a lif
Readers who enjoyed Lawrence's The North Runner and Secret Go the Wolves will welcome these memoirs of his active, adventurous life. Son of an English father and a Spanish mother, he spent his childhood in Spain. At 15, during the Spanish Civil War, he enlisted in the Republican Army and fought in the infantry. Lawrence escaped to France in 1938, returning to England to enlist in the British Army. He was evacuated at Dunkirk, then transferred to the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, saw action in the desert and, in June 1944, was severely wounded in Normandy. After a long convalescence, he studied biology at Cambridge and found his way into journalism. Dissatisfied with life in postwar England, Lawrence went to Canada in 1954, to homestead in western Ontario. He was totally unprepared for a Canadian winter, and deeply grateful to his neighbors for their help. Relating events of his life in Canada, his love of the North and its wildlife, Lawrence pens a fitting postscript to his other books. Photos. (June)
An author of more than 20 books (e.g., White Puma, LJ 4/15/90), Lawrence is best known for his writings about wildlife and wilderness conservation and especially about wolves. Now in his seventies, he turns his observations inward, telling his own story. Some of the passages here have appeared in other works. The first several chapters, covering Lawrence's childhood in Spain through his service in World War II, read like journal entries featuring lots of action but very little emotion or reflection. The second half of the book is almost lyrical in its descriptive passages, and the narration of his life's events are paced with a storyteller's ear. Here Lawrence reveals the emotion behind his ambition and reflects upon his chosen path. Told with modesty, gentle humor, and an honest perception of one man's place in the world, Lawrence's memoirs are a pleasure to read. Because of his reputation, libraries with environmental collections will want to consider, as will libraries strong in biography and nature writing.-Denise Sticha, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh
Ron Lawrence was born in the province of Catalonia, son of a British father and a Spanish mother. At 15, he enlisted in the Spanish Republican Army and was later badly wounded in World War II. He went to England after the war but was unable to settle down in the postwar's strained economy. In 1954, along with his wife and young son, his convalescence over, Lawrence sailed for Canada. He put down roots in northern Ontario, where in succeeding years he worked as a freelance journalist and published several books on Canadian wildlife and animal behavior. This memoir also details his involvement in monitoring government-sponsored wolf-kills in the Yukon and British Columbia. Lawrence also nursed injured wolves back to health, only to release them once again to the wild. A remarkable man and one any reader would like to know.