The best books about obsession with African wildlife and adventure

Who am I?

I am an author specializing in nature, travel, and adventure writing. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many of the places featured in my books – including Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. I even to travelled to Morocco to study the art of storytelling with the last of the great storytellers. I’ve always been intrigued by stories that tell a personal journey about overcoming obstacles, especially if the story takes the reader to exotic places. So no wonder I jumped at the opportunity to co-author a book with a game ranger and conservationist in Africa that combines historical perspectives, larger-than-life characters, and dangerous experiences with wildlife. 


I wrote...

When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer

By James Alexander Currie, Bonnie J. Fladung, Margo Gabrielle Damian (illustrator)

Book cover of When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer

What is my book about?

This is a riveting African adventure story told with passion and charm. But as the Zulus say, “There is no river without a shade.” Follow the daring safari of James Currie as his love of birds, fascination with wildlife, and craving for adventure lead him into humorous and life-threatening situations. James captures the essence of what it means to be African today, facing everything from the Big Five to the vestiges of apartheid to the AIDS epidemic. He provides authoritative information on African wildlife and illustrates hair-raising encounters with lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, and snakes through exciting and humorous stories.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer and the African Adventure the Victorian World by Storm

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did I love this book?

I love nonfiction adventure books that immerse you in the details of an adventure while providing enough background information to understand the historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives of an era. In the mid-19th century, Paul du Chaillu spent years in Western Africa tracking down the njena, the mythical beast. This book makes for interesting reading as the author weaves the true-life adventure story of the discovery of the gorilla with Darwin’s evolutionary debate, and the challenges a Victorian-era scientist faced to prove his credibility. 

By Monte Reel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Between Man and Beast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu ventured into the African jungle in search of a mythic beast, the gorilla. After wild encounters with vicious cannibals, deadly snakes, and tribal kings, Du Chaillu emerged with 20 preserved gorilla skins—two of which were stuffed and brought on tour—and walked smack dab into the biggest scientific debate of the time: Darwin's theory of evolution. Quickly, Du Chaillu's trophies went from objects of wonder to key pieces in an all-out intellectual war. With a wide range of characters, including Abraham Lincoln, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.T Barnum, Thackeray, and of course, Charles Darwin, this is a…


Book cover of Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did I love this book?

I remember my first encounter with African wildlife. I was standing in front of a museum diorama, facing a lion standing full height, its glass eyes gleaming. These displays were crafted so carefully, the animals posed so perfectly, the backgrounds painted so realistically. But who turned these dead animals into works of art? This book describes the life of the man who traveled the world to find and preserve the best specimens. Carl Akeley’s journey is both gruesome and fascinating. 

By Jay Kirk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kingdom Under Glass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this epic account of an extraordinary life lived during remarkable times, Jay Kirk follows the adventures of legendary explorer and taxidermist Carl Akeley, who revolutionized taxidermy and environmental conservation and created the famed African Hall at New York's Museum of Natural History. Akeley risked death time and again in the jungles of Africa as he stalked animals for his dioramas and hobnobbed with outsized personalities of the era, such as Theodore Roosevelt and P. T. Barnum. Kingdom Under Glass is "a rollicking biography…an epic adventure…[and] a beguiling novelistic portrait of a man and an era straining to hear the…


Book cover of The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did I love this book?

I’ve always wondered how an obsession can turn criminal. The lure of the illegal wildlife trade can be very lucrative for those with a penchant for adventure and who are willing to take significant risks. This is the story of how a birder from southern Africa became an international wildlife criminal and rare-bird smuggler. The author wraps the story with the challenges that law enforcement officials face to apprehend and convict. This is a great introduction into the wildlife trade and the efforts people will take to acquire endangered species.

By Joshua Hammer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Falcon Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "well-written, engaging detective story" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) about a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs-and the wildlife detective determined to stop him.

On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain's Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales.

So begins a "vivid tale of obsession and international derring-do" (Publishers Weekly), following the parallel lives of a globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions-and…


Book cover of Explorers' Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did I love this book?

An art teacher recommended this book to me when I wanted to learn more about sketchbook journaling. What better way to learn than to page through the field notes and illustrations from the diaries and journals of 70 famous world travelers and adventurers! For each of these daring men and women, there is a brief introduction followed by a visual treasure trove of sketches, original diary pages, and watercolor paintings. This book will remind you of what exploration and encountering wildlife and other cultures were like before cameras and cell phones.

By Huw Lewis-Jones, Kari Herbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Explorers' Sketchbooks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sketchbook has been the one constant in explorers' kits for centuries of adventure. Often private, they are records of immediate experiences and discoveries, and in their pages we can see what the explorers themselves encountered. This remarkable book showcases 70 such sketchbooks, kept by intrepid men and women as they journeyed perilous and unknown environments—frozen wastelands, high mountains, barren deserts, and dense rainforests—with their senses wide open. Figures such as Charles Darwin and Sir Edmund Hillary are joined here by lesser-known explorers such as Adela Breton, who braved the jungles of Mexico to make a record of Mayan monuments.…


Book cover of West with the Night: A Memoir

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did I love this book?

I think the best books are stories about a personal journey. Beryl Markham’s beautifully written memoir about living in eastern Africa is just that. The famous aviatrix grew up on a farm raising racehorses and later associated with the author Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) and her husband, the professional big game hunter Bror Blixen. In Beryl’s chapters on rounding up elephants by air for Bror’s early safaris, she provides insight into the dangers and fascination men have had through the ages hunting and killing wild animals. 

By Beryl Markham,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked West with the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.

Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.

In 1936 she determined to fly solo…


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Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

Book cover of Radio Free Olympia

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’ve always been a child of the woods. I preferred to leave my home and wade a creek or explore a hillside. Nothing compared to the sight of a black snake or the feel of a mud puppy. School was a torture until an English teacher introduced me to Richard Brautigan and then read my first serious story to the class. Since then, this dyslexic nature lover has become a dream fisher and history miner with a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Retired from forty-one years of teaching, I now write and publish cultural fiction.

Jeffrey's book list on where imagination and nature run free

What is my book about?

Embark on a riveting journey into Washington State’s untamed Olympic Peninsula, where the threads of folklore legends and historical icons are woven into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr as he fearlessly employs his pirate radio transmitter to broadcast the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a cranberry-infused roadhouse that offers solace to lost and wayward women. When a newborn is kidnapped, Baie and her community must unite to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the natural world.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

What is this book about?

Unleash the Power of the Wilderness in Radio Free Olympia


Discover the captivating allure of Washington's untamed Olympic Peninsula in Radio Free Olympia, an extraordinary literary masterpiece that immerses readers in a mesmerizing realm of visionaries, folklore legends, and historical icons. With an enchanting blend of magical realism and cultural fiction, the brilliant wordsmith Jeffrey Dunn artfully intertwines multiple narratives, crafting an intricate ecological tapestry that resonates deeply within the soul.


Embark on a riveting journey alongside the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a…


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