This book, A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond between Two Friends and a Lion, offers the full story behind the two-minute YouTube film clip that became an international phenomenon. I wrote about this unusual friendship in Christian the Lion: YouTube Video Stars, Where are They Now? The post also has the video of their famous reunion. In brief the story is:
In 1969, on a whim, John Rendall and Ace Bourke bought a lion cub from London's Harrods and named him Christian. They were two young recent college graduates and they had great fun going about London with their lion cub who lived with them in a posh pad on Kings Road. The three of them developed a close, warm and loving relationship.
But in time the 35 pound cub grew to 185 pounds and his days as a house pet were coming to an end. Too many exotic pet owners at this stage tend to "dispose" of them in some convenient fashion. But to the credit of Rendall and Bourke they looked for a better solution and got an introduction to George Adamson (he and his wife, Joy, raised an orphaned cub Elsa who became the subject of book and the movie "Born Free"). Adamson was able to successfully rehabilitate Christian into the wild in Africa. A year later Rendall and Bourke decided to visit Africa and find Christian -- the YouTube hit video (seen by millions) shows this reunion.
This story was originally published in 1971 and has now been revised and updated with lots of photographs. It's a unique example of a special human-animal bonding with a joyful, uplifting ending and, I imagine, the book will be a bestseller.
Of related interest is this 1966 family classic tale of Adamson and his wife Joy and their three orphaned lion cubs: Born Free, the DVD.