They Married Adventure by Pascal James Imperato
The Wandering Lives of Martin and Osa Johnson

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Martin and Osa Johnson thrilled American audiences of the 1920s and 30s with their remarkable movies of far-away places, exotic peoples, and the dramatic spectacle of African wildlife. Their own lives were as exciting as the movies they made--sailing through the South Sea Islands, dodging big game at African waterholes, flying small planes over the veldt, taking millionaires on safari.    

Osa Johnson’s ghostwritten autobiography, I Married Adventure, became a national bestseller. The 1939 film version was billed as “the story of World Exploration’s First Lady, whose indomitable daring would be stayed by neither snarling lion nor crouching leopard, tropic tempest nor savage tribesman!” Heroes to millions, Osa and Martin seemed to embody glamor, daring, and the all-American ideal of self-reliance.    

Probing beneath the glamor of the Johnsons’ public image, Pascal and Eleanor Imperato explore the more human side of the couple’s lives--and ways the Johnsons shaped, for better and for worse, America’s vision of Africa. Drawing on many years of research, access to a wealth of letters and archives, interviews with many who worked closely with the Johnsons, and their own deep knowledge of Africa, the authors present a fascinating and intimate portrait of this intrepid couple.


About Pascal James Imperato

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Imperato is Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn.
Published March 1, 1999 by Rutgers University Press. 350 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Martin died in a 1937 plane crash, and Osa (who had developed a severe drinking problem) soldiered on until a fatal heart attack in 1953.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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