Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived

by Ralph Helfer | Pets & Animals |
ISBN: 006083627x Global Overview for this book
Registered by SweetPetunia of Ruse, New South Wales Australia on 1/31/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!
12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by SweetPetunia from Ruse, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, January 31, 2006
It was awfully difficult deciding how to classify this one since it is about both the man (author) AND the animal (Zamba of the title).

"One day, Ralph Helfer, a celebrated animal behaviorist, received a surprising phone call. His close friends had found a young lion, near death by the Zambezi River in Zambia and had rescued him and brought him back to the States. Ralph had often spoken of wanting to raise a lion from a young age - he had been developing a philosophy of training animals based on love instead of fear, which he termed "affection training." Weeks later, Zamba, then a two-month-old cub, arrived. As Helfer peeked into Zamba's box, he saw a small lion cub tilt his head, wait a single beat, then amble right into his arms. Hugging Helfer's neck with his soft paws, Zamba collapsed on his chest, got comfortable, and fell asleep, their faces touching. They didn't move for the next two hours. Zamba was home.

For the next eighteen years, Zamba would appear in many motion pictures, on television, and in the pages of magazines, but more important, a bond developed between Helfer and Zamba that became the most significant of their lives, as they experienced both happy and tough times side by side. Zamba is now enshrined in Helfer's heart and the memories of moviegoers everywhere as the greatest lion that ever lived. With stories that range from the hilarious to the incredibly sad and poignant, Zamba will give any Lion King fans a new hero and touch every animal lover's heart."

Journal Entry 2 by SweetPetunia from Ruse, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, February 11, 2006
I give this book a 10 simply because it moved me to tears. It is most definitely a story for those among us who feel themselves to be spiritual and also nature loving.

It is the story of a young man who had always dreamed of 'owning' a lion and who had developed his own theories regarding the training of animals. Such a lion cub comes into his life in a slightly strange way and a bond develops very quickly.

It's a tale of their friendship, their work together, their crises, their life together and their obvious love and respect for each other.

It's easy to read, at times it bogs down a little in what I would consider trivia but for the most part it flows along very well, taking the reader on a journey into the life of this wonderful animal.


Journal Entry 3 by SweetPetunia from Ruse, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, February 18, 2006
The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived
Ralph Helfer

-> When you receive the book please make a journal entry to say that you have received it safe and well, and to let others know the book’s whereabouts.
-> When you’ve finished the book make a journal entry and tell us your thoughts – did you enjoy it?
-> Send a PM to the BCer after you on the list to ask for his/her mailing address.
-> When you have mailed the book please do another journal to say that it’s now in the hands of the postal system (so we know who to blame if it goes astray!)

Ring List
angelbird72 -> angelbird72's Bookshelf
sabavana -> sabavana's Bookshelf
catsalive -> catsalive's Bookshelf
kzel -> kzel's Bookshelf
pammykn -> pammykn's Bookshelf
RockDg9 -> RockDg9's Bookshelf RockDg9 has asked to be skipped.

booklady331 -> booklady331's Bookshelf
smlwoman -> smlwoman's Bookshelf
glade1 -> glade1's Bookshelf
KarenZero -> KarenZero's Bookshelf
Satnam -> Satnam's Bookshelf --> Zamba is now with Satnam
LaurieS -> LaurieS' Bookshelf
katyan -> katyan's Bookshelf

Journal Entry 4 by angelbird72 from Newcastle, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, February 23, 2006
I just recieved this book in the mail today and am already three chapters in! It's really good so far!

Thanks for sharing Sweet Petunia!

Journal Entry 5 by angelbird72 from Newcastle, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I really enjoyed this book, I finished it a couple of days ago but I've been kinda slack.

The only thing that got to me was that it wasn't hugely linear, and even though non-linear things can be great sometimes (take Ross Noble's Stand-up shows for example) this wasn't one of them.

The book really sucked me in at first, but then it was like someone was fiddling with the antenae of the radio while my favourite song, it just kept coming in and out of focus.

It really was very good though, and I gave it a nine (rounded up from 8.5)

Journal Entry 6 by Sabavana from Mangrove Mountain, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, March 23, 2006
Zamba arrived on my doorstep yesterday morning, thanks SP for sharing! I'm just finishing off one book then this is next.

Journal Entry 7 by Sabavana from Mangrove Mountain, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I finished this a couple of nights ago, and loved it. Actually I would love any book to do with animals, but this one was really easy to read, and I learnt alot about animal training too.
I loved Ralph's philosophy on animals, it's very similar to mine in that if you show love to an animal, s/he will love you back (most of the time!), and that they are part of the family. Anyone who knows me, knows that my girls are definately part of my family :-)
I agree with angelbird72 about the time shifts, but it didn't bother me too much - to me, it didn't matter particularly when the events happened, the fun thing was that they did.
Oh, and have the tissues handy...
Will PM catsalive now.

Journal Entry 8 by Sabavana from Mangrove Mountain, New South Wales Australia on Monday, April 10, 2006
Sent to catsalive today - enjoy :-)

Journal Entry 9 by wingcatsalivewing from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, April 13, 2006
Got it, thanks Sabavana.

Journal Entry 10 by wingcatsalivewing from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Friday, April 14, 2006
I have been very naughty, but I couldn't resist, I had to read this straight away. I wish there had been some colour photos of Zamba, there's only the tiny one on the back but it doesn't show enough to see all the beautiful colours in Zamba's coat & mane that Ralph described. I loved the book & bawled through several occasions: their first meeting under the Old Lady; when Zamba stood so patiently for Dawn to see him with her hands; the cliff-top as Zamba sensed the world with his blind eyes; and, of course, the inevitable. The kinship Zamba & Ralph shared was beautiful.

Thanks, Sweetpetunia, for sharing this lovely book. Off to kzel next.

Journal Entry 11 by SweetPetunia from Ruse, New South Wales Australia on Friday, April 14, 2006
I am sooo glad everyone is enjoying Zamba as much as I did!!! *grins*

This is the only other photo of Zamba I could find and it's not the most regal of situations but it still shows his glorious mane. It's no wonder Ralph loved this lion so much.

Journal Entry 12 by wingcatsalivewing from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Monday, April 17, 2006
It certainly is glorious. This pic pops up a bit larger.

Journal Entry 13 by wingcatsalivewing from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, April 23, 2006
Posted to kzel this morning.

Journal Entry 14 by kzel from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Saturday, May 06, 2006
Picked up today from the post office. I have a few rings that have turned up before this, but I'll get to it as soon as possible :D

Released 13 yrs ago (7/19/2006 UTC) at Controlled Release in Controlled Release, Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Sent onto Pammykn today

Journal Entry 16 by pammykn from Decatur, Alabama USA on Saturday, July 29, 2006
Thanks look forward to reading!

Journal Entry 17 by pammykn from Decatur, Alabama USA on Sunday, August 13, 2006
Just loved this book! What an intersting life Mr. Helfer has had. As much as I loved Zamba, I wanted the story to continue w/ more of Ralph Helfer's other animal stories. A real gem, thanks for sharing. RockDg9 asked to be skipped. Will mail to booklady331.

Journal Entry 18 by wingbooklady331wing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Arrived in the mail today. I am so excited to read this book. I love lions. My family room is decorated with these beautiful big cats [also tigers and panthers]. I am looking forward to reading this.

Journal Entry 19 by wingbooklady331wing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Monday, August 21, 2006
What a pleasant read! I really enjoyed this book. I love lions - they are so regal. I had to laugh at parts and share them with my husband.

Off to smlwoman by mail.

Journal Entry 20 by smlwoman on Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I got the book today, I am in the middle of another book right now. I will start this one as soon as I finish my current book. thanks bunches

Journal Entry 21 by smlwoman on Saturday, September 23, 2006
This was a great book! I a laughed out loud, and I cried real tears. Most books make me smile, or feel sad only. But this one hit home real well. My favorite part is on pages 215-218. That is where I laughed outloud. Thanks for sharing it with me!

I am going to go through my piggy bank to get enough cash to mail it out this week once I hear back from the next person. I am trying now to decide if this would be a good gift for my cousin. Some parts would tear her apart, so I am not sure.

Journal Entry 22 by smlwoman on Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I mailed this off to glade1 on Tuesday 9/26/06. Have fun with it and thanks again!

Journal Entry 23 by glade1 from McLeansville, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Received in the mail today. It's behind a few other bookrings but I hope to get to it soon. More later...

Journal Entry 24 by glade1 from McLeansville, North Carolina USA on Monday, October 23, 2006
Okay, so now I have red eyes. I was NOT going to cry at this book, knowing of course what the inevitable end would be. But I boo-hooed anyway! This is a story that actually started fairly slowly for me but as it went on I really got caught up in it. As angelbird72 said, it was not really always linear and so I felt a little "bumped around." But later in the book the author seemed to reach his stride, with the trip to Africa and the events after that running smoothly in chronological order.

I admire this man for working as hard as he did and sticking to his guns about his training philosophy and can see that he found it very rewarding. The point when they find the group of animals waiting together for them in the Eden-like setting (near the end) especially moved me.

I would like to recommend another good animal book here: Monkeys on the Highway, by Jack Hanna. Hanna is the "Director Emeritus" of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and his book is a memoir about how he came to work with animals and contains some interesting stories. One that I thought of often during Zamba is an incident with a lion he had raised from a cub, with it living in the house and being "part of the family." It took a little boy's arm off one day--I kept shivering at the possibility of Hefler's daughter being shredded, but I guess he knew what he was doing. It's just that all animals keep a little bit of the wild in them, especially cats, and you have to be very careful.

Anyway, wonderful story. Have they made it into a movie? If not, they should. I think it would be a good one. Somebody call Disney!

Thank you for sharing this one, SweetPetunia! I'm off to PM KarenZero now for an address.

Update 11-4-06: Mailed to KarenZero today via media mail.

Journal Entry 25 by KarenZero from Maplewood, New Jersey USA on Thursday, November 09, 2006
Book arrived safely! Will read ASAP.

Journal Entry 26 by KarenZero from Maplewood, New Jersey USA on Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I enjoyed it and am now interested in reading Ralph's book about Modoc as well. Thanks for sharing the book! I have PMed the next readera and have not yet heard back so I will try again shortly.

Journal Entry 27 by KarenZero from Maplewood, New Jersey USA on Thursday, December 14, 2006
This book is temporarily a little stalled as I have PMed the next reader several times and done an ISO in the forums. I am going to wait a little bit until I can afford to send it to Finland or perhaps post in the forums and see if anyone wants to read it and can post intl. It will be moving soon!

Journal Entry 28 by Satnam from North Augusta, South Carolina USA on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
SweetPetunia and fellow ring members, I am very sorry for holding your bookring up. I have not had internet access at home since I moved last summer and I just had to move again. It has made keeping up with bookcrossing difficult to say the least.

I received Zamba a week or so ago and am looking forward to reading it. I am in the middle of another bookring but will try to get this on it's way to katyan soon.

Journal Entry 29 by Satnam from North Augusta, South Carolina USA on Friday, March 16, 2007
Yesterday I went to pick my 10-yr-old son up from school and had a few minutes to wait before the bell rang. I started reading the first few pages of Zamba. When he got in the car and it was time to leave, I said "This book is so good, would you want to read it to me while I drive." When I told him what it was about and he looked at the pictures, he said yes. So he ended up reading most of chapters 1 and 2 to me. Since he was enjoying it as much as I was, we decided that we would finish the book together. He will read to me when we are in the car and I will read to him at bedtime. We are both very excited about this book!

Journal Entry 30 by smlwoman on Saturday, March 17, 2007
That is pretty cool how the two of you are reading it together. I hope you will let us know what he thought of it too, or maybe even let him write his own review!

Journal Entry 31 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Satnam passed this book on to me when she noticed I recently finished up Helfer's Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived Clever title, eh?

I have very limited reading time for the next few weeks but will put aside my current read (which I haven't really started anyway!) and do my best to read snippets when I can find a free moment. I hope to finish within a month to a month and 1/2 time frame.

Journal Entry 32 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I read about 60 pages of this book last night and am enjoying it much more than Modoc because it seems truer a story. As much as I enjoyed Modoc it read like a smashing together of events contrived by Helfer. Some backstory, Helfer didn't come across Modoc until her later years and when he wrote the book telling about her life he recreated her past story based on interviews and, dare I say it, his own imagination. So parts of that book read like a fairytale to me. This one seems filled with true emotion and even though the time period jumps around all over the place, I have enjoyed reading it so far.

Journal Entry 33 by BarkLessWagMore from Merrimack, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I finished this book up yesterday afternoon and really enjoyed it. Parts of it were gut-wrenchingly tragic but the overall feeling of compassion and love are well worth the pain. This guy led an incredible life and it is a shame that his training style hasn't caught on and so much animal cruelty still exists.

I've pm'd the last in line and will send it along as soon as I hear back. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 34 by BarkLessWagMore at Portland Lobster Company in Portland, Maine USA on Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (7/17/2007 UTC) at Portland Lobster Company in Portland, Maine USA



I left Zamba on a bench at the Portland Lobster Company restaurant around lunch time today. Portland is so beautiful, I'd love to stay here forever.

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