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The Life in My Years [Paperback]

Virginia McKenna
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2010
Virginia McKenna starred in some of the most popular and enduring movies of our time, among them Carve Her Name With Pride, A Town Like Alice and the phenomenally successful Born Free, in which she and husband Bill Travers depicted the story of conservationists George and Joy Adamson and their reintroduction of Elsa the orphaned lion cub to the wild. With the multi-award-winning Born Free both actors were at the peak of their careers but the film and all it still stands for changed their lives. Its powerful message stayed with them and so began a lifetime s campaigning across the world to save animals from commercial exploitation, imprisonment in zoos and the loss of their natural habitat. At the heart of this autobiography is a call to respect nature and all that it provides. Despite an exceptional career in cinema and theatre, Virginia McKenna pushed aside the glamour of movie stardom, the West End and Broadway to focus relentlessly on her personal mission with the Born Free Foundation or the plight of orphaned children across the world. This book will inspire anyone who cares about the future of the planet and all the creatures dependent on it, including human beings. The Life in My Years is the inspirational story of an extraordinary life.

Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Oberon Books Ltd (1 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849430357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849430357
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 15.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read 3 April 2009
I read this book over several days, often dipping in and out of. The book gave me a great "feel good factor" and I admire how she gave up the type of life she had to concentrate on something she loved so dearly. It makes you realise just how important life and animals are to this world. It certantly makes you think!! I great read for all the family. Very good.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great companion read with Christian the Lion 17 April 2009
A terrific memoir from a truly admirable woman. Virginia Mckenna was one of the best British actresses of her generation and yet she set aside much of her career to focus on her family and in later life devoted to her passion for animal welfare. Some incredible pictures in this book too - wonderful production job. I can't recommend it strongly enough - if you liked Ace and John's story you will love this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful 11 Aug 2009
What a wonderfully written book. I must confess that books never make me cry but this one made me cry during almost every chapter. A real rollercoaster of emotions. Virginia's devotion to her family, and particular her husband Bill, is so vividly explained. Her love for Bill is my abiding memory of this book. Her stories about the animals she has helped during her life kept me absolutely riveted. As a member of Born Free I find her a real inspiration, this book was one of the best books I have ever read, its sheer truthfulness and raw emotion are humbling to read
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Born free actress and animal saviour 1 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am going to see Virginia McKenna at the Cheltenham Lit Festival soon and bought this book to read beforehand. The book is varied in that it jumps from subject to subject and does not follow an expected timeline starting at her childhood and coming up to date. Instead there are many chapters relating to various subjects - her films, theatre work, family, friends and her wildlife rescues. In some ways I liked this but in others I might have preferred the story of her life stated in order of happening. Alternatively, the way it is presented makes it easy to pick up and put down soit doesn't matter if you forgot what happened beforehand. Ms McKenna is obviously a vey caring and sensative person and I can't wait so meet her in person to see how she comes across in the flesh.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Miss Chantal S. Lyons VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best autobiography I have ever read. Beautifully written, compelling, and heart-breaking. I was moved to tears again and again as I read of McKenna's pain at losing beloved friends and family, and treasured animal friends as well.

For Born Free fans, this book has plenty of "behind the scenes" content. We learn how certain scenes were filmed, anecdotes from during the filming, and the fates of the lions used in the film. But Born Free is only a small part of McKenna's story. She writes at length of her theatre and television exploits, though this is never tedious and always interesting. Sometimes her work in television took her to extraordinary places, such as the Himalayas, and her descriptions of these are rich and vibrant.

The chapters on McKenna's work for Zoo Check, the organisation that later became the Born Free Foundation, are the ones that haunt me the most. Until reading this book, I had seen zoos as a necessary evil; now I see no reason for them to be necessary. McKenna's stance on zoos is staunch and unrelenting, as she writes of the many terrible zoos she visited, and the disturbed animals captive in them. "Don't you think a year of freedom is better than twenty in captivity?" she asks, after writing of the success of releasing into the wild three dolphins that had previously lived in aquariums in England.

Her passion for Nature, and her pain at seeing it raped so by humankind, is overwhelming. It is almost unbearable to read her words, of greed and ceaseless human cruelty. In the book are several of the poems she has written, and the one that stood out the most for me was one that talked of the seasons, then, the last two lines read: "They're cutting all the trees, Soon we won't know what the season is".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book 4 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have always admired Virginia McKenna, and her husband for all the work they have done for conservation ..and really enjoyed her book, The title is so true as's not the years in your life but the life in your years..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Virginia Triumphs 31 Aug 2009
Virginia has written this book wearing `her heart on her sleeve', an amazing lady who has done it all! She is so passionate about what she does. Well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peaceful and inspiring read 31 May 2010
The Life in My Years was like spending a few days at a health spa or ashram !It gave me a sense of peace and feel good factor. Virginia McKenna is an inspiring woman who followed her heart and beliefs at whatever cost. Her and her husband Bill Travers were devoted to each other and the loneliness she now feels without him is palpable.It is her life story which includes her acting, her devotion to free captive animals and her family. Heartwarming, interesting and sometimes very sad, but never boring ! A great read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything perfect. Great Service!
Published 1 month ago by Leopold Carpani
3.0 out of 5 stars Old memories of the SS KENYA CASTLE.
This book is of personal interest to me as I had met the author in 1964. This was when she and her husband and family sailed to Africa to make the film 'Born Free'. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alan Clay
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book by an equally lovely person (shame about the condition of...
I originally bought this book in paperback form and only got to page 12 before a chunk of it fell out. I was so disappointed as I had looked forward to reading this book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Xtal
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to my private collection.
I live overseas and find Amazon very useful for buying books in English. I ordered this hard back, signed copy and when it arrived I was very satisifed. Read more
Published 15 months ago by christina karamanoglu christina
1.0 out of 5 stars falling apart
as soon as i started reading this book the pages started falling out making it impossible to carry on reading it
Published 16 months ago by STEVE JACKLIN
5.0 out of 5 stars A LOVELY BOOK
A lovely book so well written.I have always admired Virgina Mc Kenna as a film star and now as an author, her life story too.
Published 18 months ago by Gordon,
4.0 out of 5 stars Virginia McKenna fan
The Life in My YearsThe Life in My Years is excellent - well worth ordering. Virginia McKenna tells her story beautifully; informatively regarding the animals in their wild state... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2012 by Maybuds
4.0 out of 5 stars Told it is excellent but I never got a chance to read it....
I bought a copy of this book for my Mother at Easter. As soon as she opened it the opening pages fell out. Sent it back to Amazon and got another one very quickly. Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by Amber
3.0 out of 5 stars pity about the punctuation
Firstly, let me say that I love and admire Virginia. She has had, and probably is still having, a wonderful life. Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2009 by A. Mcclintock
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