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

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

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In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip capturing the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon.

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767932332
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/10/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,045,968
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

ANTHONY “ACE” BOURKE is one of Australia’s leading art curators. He lives in Sydney.

JOHN RENDALL is a member of the Royal Geographic Society and a trustee of the George Adamson Trust. He divides his time between London and Sydney.

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Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Katie0287 More than 1 year ago
After seeing the Youtube clip and falling in love with the story of Christian, I couldn't wait to read this book. I didn't put it down and would happily reccomend it to anyone who, like me, was mesmerised by the original footage of Christian. I am so thankful that this story is once again being shared around the world so many years after it occured. Ace and John have their own website, where they give regular updates on the continuing journey of A Lion Called Christian.
KarenLL More than 1 year ago
When I first saw this story featured on the news it brought tears to my eyes. In fact tears are rolling down my face right now after watching the video again. It proves that true friendship knows no bounds. All the experts out there would have never imagined something this amazing and special could ever take place. I am so glad that they were proven wrong with the story of Christian! I feel this story should be brought and taught to our children and maybe this world will end up being a better place!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I (like so many others) was facinated by the video reunion between Christian the Lion and 2 young men. I was so glad to find a book that told me more. It is an easy read. I found I couldn't put it down because I needed to know what happened next. The additional pictures in the book were fun to see.
Beverpie More than 1 year ago
These two men are to be commended for their unselfishness in releasing their friend to the wild. I know they loved this animal dearly, and the love was returned full measure by Christian. This story restores your faith in mankind toward animals. There are too many bad things done to God's creatures, and these two individuals gave this lion love, affection, shelter, and a happy, happy life. Then, when they knew they had to think of him totally and not themselves, they did so. These men should receive some sort of humanitarian award for this unselfish act toward and animal they loved and adored.
ACKJANE More than 1 year ago
The book takes this story to a new level. I could not put it down. When I read it was as if I had never heard the story before. It is so nice to read a true story that ends so picture perfect. BRAVO To Ace, John, George and Christian! It is a must read and one that you will want to read again and again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Christian and was happy he was accepted and able to be returned to the wild.
sag More than 1 year ago
Once you meet Christian, you can not forget him. A wonderful story about the loving bond between an animal and humans. The photos are great and help the reader to really get acquainted with Christian. Appreciate the fact that the owners felt the same sadness that I felt in having to say "Goodbye". Christian definitely left his "paw print" on my heart!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicely written story. The love for Christian that John and Ace had shows through in each page. What a wonderful adventure for the men and the lion. I hope Christian had a long and happy life in Africa and that when he slept, he dreamed of living in London.
SherB8352 More than 1 year ago
After seeing the videos on You-Tube last year, I kept hoping that John and Ace would rerelease the book. Much to my surprise this week, I found they did and ran to Barnes and Noble to get it. These men seem to have been chosen to give Christian a second chance at the life he was certainly to live out--to return to the wild. The account of their acquiring Christian and the huge challenges over the months of caring for Christian and eventually getting him to Kenya fills me with awe and admiration at the character and determination to do what was best for Christian and fulfill his destiny. I was in tears at the end of the book, and I feel blessed to have known these people and all the lions through John and Ace's book. Humorous, tender, sad, inspiring. My kind of book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That video was so touching to my heart that I cried. I think that this book will be great, and I will soon get a copy and read it. Praise for A Lion Called Christian.
kelsey.b More than 1 year ago
I almost cried when I seen the video that is so cute! Looks like a good book!
booksandbosox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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
Ella_Jill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The authors describe how they bought a lion cub in a department store in London in 1969, were raising him for a year and then took him to Kenya where George Adamson rehabilitated him to the wild. It¿s a warm, entertaining and very well-written book that any animal lover would enjoy, although not having read the original 1971 edition of this book, I cannot say how they compare or how much original material is in this one. The greater part of the book describes Christian in London in arresting detail. The authors found him very affectionate (he liked to jump from the floor into their arms and generally sit close to them) and were surprised that he wasn¿t at all possessive about his food (they write that they could even take it from his mouth if necessary). He was obviously very playful, but quickly learned to be careful with people. The latter part of the book describes Christian¿s sojourn in Adamson¿s camp. Since the authors only stayed there for several weeks, there are no descriptions of rehabilitation to the wild per se (for instance, it¿s not mentioned if Christian needed to be taught to hunt like Elsa was), but we learn a lot about Christian¿s interactions with other captive lions from whom Adamson tried to create a pride and the wild lions in the area. Not surprisingly, they weren¿t willing to give up part of their territory for the newcomers (would people?) and although Christian amazingly proved able to stand up to them and survive without major injuries even after his would-be pride-mates either died or, in case of some females, got absorbed into the existing prides, he couldn¿t establish a territory there and later migrated ¿in the direction of the Meru National Park, a much more attractive area and a good hunting ground,¿ never to be seen again. The authors write: ¿We liked to imagine that he had established a territory and pride of his own, too far away to return and visit George.¿ Personally, I didn¿t feel as optimistic when reading this book. Just because he went in the direction of the park, doesn¿t mean he got there, and even if he did, a good hunting area would mean more lions and smaller territories, so they¿d be even more able to defend their ground. Christian grew up to be a very large lion, but prides usually have two mature males defending them, and I¿m not sure one, even large lion could defeat two and then defend the acquired territory successfully. Male cubs routinely disperse, driven out by their fathers when they grow up (which is nature¿s way of preventing interbreeding), but usually they seem to do this with a pride-mate or two and the mortality rate for them during this time is high. On the other hand, in nature, male lions are much younger when they disperse than Christian was in 1972 and certainly nowhere as large, so, perhaps, there¿s hope. Unfortunately, no prognosis from Adamson or someone with similar knowledge of lions and the area is included. Perhaps, if a specialist reads this book today, he/she would comment¿ But regardless, I found this book was very enjoyable and informative and certainly worth reading and very likely rereading.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Christian was an amazing lion, but I was saddened to find out that we don't know the ending of the story. In a way, the YouTube ending is almost fitting, and it gives us something to believe and dream in.
Smits on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i am a sucker for wildlife stories and this one has it all. the you tube video is remarkable. the book is good. somewhat amaturish but good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Lion Called Christian is the story behind the Youtube sensation Christian the lion and his owners Anthony Burke and John Rendall.  In 1969 the two friends from Australia moved across the globe to London, England where the two stumbled across two lion cubs for sale at Harrods.  In the spur of the moment they purchased the male lion cub and named him Christian.  Christian, Anthony, and John lived in an apartment in downtown London attached to the furniture store they worked at for several months.  Christian was extremely calm, friendly, and gentile for a lion and he quickly became a local celebrity. As he quickly began to grow in size, Anthony and John needed to decide where Christian would be relocated to when he out grew his apartment and became a potential danger to the people around him. Through a remarkable set of coincidences just short of miracles, Christian was able to be sent back home to Africa where he belonged.  A year after Christian was sent to his new home, Anthony and John went to visit him.  Christian greeted his former owns with great love and affection.  This was such an inspiring book to read.  It really opens your mind and shows you that we really are connected to all other species here on Earth and it is our job to protect them and ensure their well-being.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book A Lion Called Christian by Anthony (Ace) Bourke and John Rendall, these two men adopt a pet lion named Christian, and tell the stories of the hardships and triumphs of living with him. I would definitely recommend this book, but only for people with a higher lexile level, as it has a great vocabulary. The sentences are really long, making the book sound very formal and educational. The whole plot is very intriguing, and it makes for a good sit-down read. The bond between these characters is really touching, and I thought the way they described life with Christian was exceptional. Overall, if you like to challenge yourself with difficult reading, and/or you love animals, I would highly recommend this book to you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go join the blaze clan at arson plus but not here they will welcom you! Not us
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book as part of a school assignment. After finishing it, I was tempted to re-read it many times over. This true story tells about the strong, loveable bond between a store-bought lion living in London, and two young men new to the big city. I would very highly recommend this book for teens! This book also contains a very high "lexile" (reading level). :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
* falls to the ground dead *
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey Phoenix.
Ann90 More than 1 year ago
It is so nice to read books that have happy endings. Shows the good intentions in people for animals. I volunteer at a large big/exotic cat rescue and see a lot of people who bought these cats from licensed/unlicensed breeders in this country.
Mairead Brady More than 1 year ago
I think this is an inspirational book and the everyone who likes animals should read it.
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