Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa
From her passion for animals to her storybook love affair, to her hard-fought crusade to save Kenya's beautiful Lake Naivasha, WILDFLOWER is naturalist, filmmaker and lifelong conservationist joan Root's gripping life story - a stunning and moving love story featuring a remarkable modern-day heroine. After 20 years of spectacular, unparalleled wildlife filmmaking together Joan and Alan Root divorced and a fascinating woman found her own voice. Renowned journalist Mark Seal offers this breathtaking, culturally relevant portrait of a strong woman discovering herself and fighting for her beliefs before her mysterious and brutal murder. With a cast as wild, wondrous and unpredictable as Africa itself, WILDFLOWER is a real-life adventure tale set in the world's disappearing wilderness. Rife with personal revelation, intrigue, corruption and murder, readers will remember Joan Root's extraordinary journey long after they turn the last page of this utterly compelling book.
baboons crabbing on the banks just south of the Tana River delta. A frequent passenger in Alan and Joan’s plane, Heminway recalled his friend’s anything-goes spirit: “If he saw two doum palms, he’d say, ‘I wonder if we can get between those two,’ and I’d say, Alan, it’s not going to work!’ And he’d say, ‘Damn,’ and he’d lower his right wing, raise the left one, and do reverse pedals. It’s called crabbing—one wing lower than the other—and he’d fly through them, just missing the branches of the
the annual migration of almost a million wildebeests. “These Americans are a very pleasant bunch, and they’re enjoying the trip,” Joan wrote one day in 1960 as she was shepherding a photo safari in Uganda. “The roof rack on the Land Rover is a success. It was good riddance to that trailer! I’m not getting tired driving. In fact, I’m enjoying it better than when I just sit.” She was always doing the driving, leading the caravan, leading everything, until, one rainy day in Africa’s Eden, she met
people who intend to tarnish the good name of the government and tourism sector in order to cause donors to suspend aid to projects in this country that may have organized this murder to discredit the government and show that Kenya is an insecure country. As for the connection of David Chege, Chief Kiragu was emphatic and harsh. “This group of four, they’re very close to each other,” he said, showing me Chege’s statement, written in his own handwriting, which slanted down the page. “Although he
deepening mystery. It all began when a British safari operator named Brian Freeman and his Kikuyu wife, Esther, rented a house on twenty-two acres near Joan’s land. The Freemans had only recently moved onto the property by the midnight Joan was murdered; from their compound, they could hear the gunshots coming from Joan’s property. “We were afraid to go out and see what was happening,” Esther Freeman told me later. “Very early the next morning, the landowner came over to the main house, where I
“My dearest Otto”: Joan Root letter to Otto Poulsen, undated. 116 Details of fight over riparian land: Author interview with Bill Hutton; letters and documents; Joan Root letters and diary; “Lake Naivasha, Experiences and Lessons Learned Brief,” Lake Basin Management Initiative, 2005. 118 Whitney heiress from New York: Sunday Telegraph (London), November 3, 2003. CHAPTER SEVEN 120 Details of Lake Naivasha: Alan Cowell, “Kenya Lake Outlives Comedy of Ecological Horrors,” New York Times, March