on 28 December 2010
This book was first published in 1993, has 441 pages, 73 B/W photos, 27 colour pictures and 4 large maps with end paper maps of Kenya. The book starts in year 1906 and ends in 1993 with stories and chapters and happenings in those years in the lives of George and Joy Adamson. In Kenya, there are startling variety of climates, flowers, trees, fish, birds and animals. ADRIAN HOUSE first met JOY in 1959 and GEORGE in 1977. Joy wrote pocket diaries from 1945 to 1975 and George wrote daily diaries for 60 years.(JOY FRIEDERIKE VIKTORIA ADAMSON 20.1.1910 TO 3.1.1980, GEORGE ALEXANDER GRAHAM ADAMSON 3.2.1906 TO 20.8.1989). In Christmas 1942, George and Joy first met at a party in GARISSA, Tana River, Kenya. Earlier Joy (FIFI) had sailed for Kenya on 12.5.1937 and married PETER BALLY on 4.4.1938 in Nairobi. It was he who named her as JOY. George and Joy married in Nairobi on 17.1.1944.
From ISIOLO, Joy went with George to amazing NFD on Lake Rudolf (Turkana) She hated TERENCE (George's brother) and Katherine (their mother). Joy was known for her behaviour problems and bad temper. She was also gifted with painting flowers, portraits and fish. In June 1940, George joined the army and was released in August 1942. In 1947, Joy demanded divorce from George, on the grounds of cruelty! In the mean time Joy had her new affairs. On 10.6.1950, at the age of 75, Katherine Adamson died. On 23.3.1953, on leave to Europe, Joy and George drove 5000 miles through north Africa and Sahara. On return, George got involved in MAU MAU emergency.
In 1956, George brings home 3 lion cubs and Joy calls one of them ELSA. In 1958, Elsa was first taken from Isiolo to Maasai Mara for release, and then to Meru. In 1960, 'BORN FREE', Elsa's story was published. In January 1961, Elsa died of tick fever. After 25 years as Game Warden, George resigns on 23.4.1961 and takes Elsa's 3 cubs to Serengeti. Joy kept the royalties but gave a lot to wildlife trusts. On 14.3.1966, 'Born Free', the Movie was released. Joy suffered from recurrent malaria, kidney stones, insomnia, fluttering heart and loneliness. On 13.8.1970,aged 65, George (Baba-ya-Simba - Father of Lions) moves to Kampi-ya-Simba at KORA with his lions. Then 1 year old 'Christian the lion' comes to Kora from London. Joy buys a bungalow on Lake Naivasha and calls it 'ELSAMERE'(now a museum). George and his assistant TONY FITZJOHN, were both bitten by their lions and landed up in Nairobi Hospital. THERE ARE GOOD LIONS AND THERE ARE BAD LIONS, BUT THERE ARE NO SAFE LIONS. On 3.1.1980, Joy was murdered by a Turkana. Terence died in 1987. Tony Fitzjohn started his own KAMPI-YA-CHUI. On 20.8.1989, George was shot dead by Somali Shifta and his funeral was on 2.9.1989 and was buried next to his brother, Terence, in Kora.
This is the most detailed book on Joy and George Adamson. Adrian House compares Joy and George's accounts of events. He goes back to their birth places and narrates their stories beautifully. You come to know what Joy and George were really like. Other books with similar theme are:-
(1) Bwana Game, George Adamson 1968
(2) My Pride and Joy, George Adamson 1986
(3) Lord of the Lion, Sandy Gall 1991
(4) Born Free/Living Free/Forever Free, Joy Adamson 1960/61/62
(5) The Searching Spirit, Joy Adamson 1978
(6) last of the Free, Gareth Patterson 1994
(7) Return to the Wild, Norman Carr 1963
(8) On Playing with Lions, Virginnia Mckenna 1966
(9) A lion Called Christian, Bourke and Randall 1971(2009)
(10)Born Wild, Tony Fitzjohn 2010
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.