Wildflower; The Story of Joan Root

Mark Seal, 2006

I was attracted to this book by the charming cover photograph of Joan, tall and pretty in a cotton dress standing by a tiny baby elephant. She was shy but had charisma, she attracted. I read the book in a day. Joan married Allan Root when they were both 21, both born and bred in Africa, and together they started wild life filming, recording the amazing African fauna, in the knowledge that it would be gone in their life times. They made many films from thousands of migrating antelope, to underwater hippopotami to a year in a termite mound. It was a life of adventure and action but not a happy life. That was the intriguing thing. Joan played second fiddle to Alan who was the showman, when he left her for other women, and one clingy one in particular (the exact opposite of capable Joan), she never recovered emotionally. In retrospect she should have moved to a town and begun life anew, what she did is start a wildlife sanctuary, and campaign to save the wildlife, raising awareness and setting up poacher patrols. She was murdered aged 69, and I learnt that many, if not most of the famous African wildlife campaigners met similar fates.