cover image Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover

Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover

Graham Boynton. St. Martin’s, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-27499-1

Travel editor Boynton (Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland) recounts the life of his close friend Peter Beard (1938–2020), a “brave and completely crazy” adventurer and African wildlife photographer. Beard, born into old money, was described by his own mother as the “most uncooperative boy she had ever met.” At 17, he traveled to Kenya with Quentin Keynes, Charles Darwin’s great-grandson, where he spent months with colonial African conservationists and emerged with “a burning passion for Africa.” Boynton recounts Beard’s years of bohemian adventures while he lived on a 40-acre plot of land in Kenya named Hog Ranch (such as the time he was nearly crushed to death by an elephant), fighting for animal preservation and taking photographs of African wildlife. As well, Boynton touches on Beard’s lavish fashion shoots for publications like Vogue, where he worked with supermodels such as Veruschka and Iman. Beard emerges as a man of contradictions, and a “much-loved character who was apparently capable of heartlessly abandoning old friends and colleagues without a second thought.” Boynton captures Africa’s spirit along with an expert character sketch, making this as inspiring as it is provocative. Readers will relish this account of a one-of-a-kind life. (Oct.)