Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Favorite Reads #7: CRY OF THE KALAHARI by Mark and Delia Owens

Alyce of At Home with Books hosts My Favorite Reads, a weekly feature spotlighting favorite reads from pre-blogging days. Because it's been a while since the books were read, these posts are not reviews per se, but rather impressionistic remembrances of a positive reading experience. I think of this feature as an opportunity to more deeply explore the range of my reading interests and those of other book bloggers and readers of book blogs outside of the current crop of new releases.
Do you have an old favorite that you'd like to share?

by Mark and Delia Owens
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Originally Published: 1984
Sales Rank: 69,875


Carrying little more than a change of clothes and a pair of binoculars, two young Americans, Mark and Delia Owens, caught a plane to Africa, bought a third-hand Land Rover, and drove deep into the Kalahari Desert. There they lived for seven years, in an unexplored area with no roads, no people, and no source of water for thousands of square miles. In this vast wilderness they met animals that had never seen humans before. They would wake in the morning to find lions sleeping beside them; leopards, giraffes, and brown hyenas were regular visitors to the camp. But the Kalahari isn't Eden, and Mark and Delia Owens were continually confronted with danger from drought, fire, violent storms, and even from the animals they loved.

Why I Chose This Book:

Recently, Alyce of At Home with Books reviewed WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T RUN by Peter Allison. That memoir of a safari leader in Africa reminded me how much I enjoyed CRY OF THE KALAHARI. I read it when it first came out in the mid-eighties and was immediately swept up in the daring adventure of their undertaking. Fresh out of grad school in 1974, Mark and Delia Owens sold everything they owned and bought one-way tickets to Botswana to begin their careers as research zoologists. They didn't want to lose the time it would take to secure sponsorship approval and funding, so they did this completely on their own. After spending 7 years living in the bush, the couple had amassed voluminous amounts of cutting-edge research on the surrounding wilderness and particularly the lions and hyenas of the area. They returned to the United States long enough to publish their findings in their book as well as in several academic and scientific journals, and then returned to Africa not only to pursue their research but also to develop wilderness conservation plans.
If you like true-life adventure, I recommend CRY OF THE KALAHARI. I found the story of Mark and Delia Owens to be completely enthralling. They were so brave and determined. Mark and Delia each write separate chapters, and the reader benefits from this alternating perspective. It's a terrific read for the armchair adventurer, but if you want to get more involved, click the link below to learn more.
Click here to visit the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation.

Just for fun, here are the covers of a couple of other editions. The one with giraffes was published in the UK. The one with the lions is the cover from my copy published in the U.S. in 1984.


bermudaonion said...

I admire people who have the guts to take chances like that. Sounds like a great book.

Lit and Life said...

Sounds like an interesting read!

bookmagic said...

Great review! I have an award for you on my blog

Marie said...

Sounds FANTASTIC. I love armchair travel and adventure stories. Thanks for talking about it!

Anonymous said...

Sounds really good~

I have an award for you HERE

Anonymous said...

I have an award for you HERE

Zibilee said...

Wow! This looks like a really great read and like something I would really like. Being so close to the animals like that sounds fascinating as well. I have put this one one my wish list. Thanks for the great review!

Alyce said...

I like the cover with the lions the best. This looks like it's right up my alley. I loved Whatever You Do, Don't Run, and this sounds like it would be just as good. I'm sure I would enjoy reading about their research too. This one goes straight to the wish list! :)

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.