They Married Adventure: The Wandering Lives of Martin and Osa Johnson

Pascal James Imperato, Author, Eleanor M. Imperato, With
Pascal James Imperato, Author, Eleanor M. Imperato, With Rutgers University Press $27.95 (313p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1858-9
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-8135-2695-9
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Although Martin and Osa Johnson wrote 18 popular books and 100 magazine articles about their explorations in the 1920s and '30s, this comprehensive biography separates myth from equally colorful fact in their romanticized lives. Born in the last century, these pioneers of the travel documentary enthralled audiences with tales of wild men and animals in Africa, Borneo and other exotic spots. Martin's career began when he served as cook on Jack London's round-the-world voyage, which ran aground in the Solomon Islands in 1908. Learning to hunt and photograph, Martin divided his time among safaris, filmmaking and the lecture circuit, and was a wealthy, famous man when he died in a plane crash in 1937. Osa, who replaced her dreams of a house and children with hunting and photography skills, died a debt-ridden alcoholic in 1953. The Imperatos, authors of several books and articles on Africa, draw on interviews with Osa's second husband and her mother to enliven this splendid account of two extraordinary lives. Photos. (Dec.)
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