Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Lion

Academic journal article African Research & Documentation

Lion

Article excerpt

Lion, by Deirdre Jackson, London : Reacktion Books, 2010, 236 pp. ISBN 8781861-896551. £9.99.

"Generally speaking, lions are scarce in African art and other animals prevail. Even in the lion's heartland, the savannah, where lions are celebrated in stories, proverbs and dances, they play little part in the visual arts." (p. 119) This editor's choice might therefore be considered a somewhat self-indulgent choice for (big) cat loving librarians. Nevertheless, at the modest price of £999, this handsomely produced, pocket-sized, beautifully illustrated book is exceptionally good value and although there is more about the endangered Asian lion than its African relative, more examples from Oriental and Western than African literature, it can be recommended for African Studies collection.

Lion is just one volume in the publisher's series that also includes Ape, Elephant and Rhinoceros of African interest and, eclectically, Parrot, Eeel and Snake. An opening chapter outlines, in accessible fashion for the non-specialist, what is known about the evolutionary history, zoology and ecology of lions. This is followed by a section on lions in captivity which includes some fascinating anecdotes about royal menageries and Victorian lion-tamers as well as a consideration of the ethics of circuses and zoos. …

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