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

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

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing a copy for review.

What a wild ride! This man had a truly unique and crazy life. I loved getting to learn more about his photos, travels, and just his life in general. This was well researched and very well written. The pacing and progression of the book was perfect. I had learned a little bit about Peter Beard in past photography classes (we even did a journal project based on his), I had no idea just how prolific his art was. This was really informative, and entertaining. I hope to pick up the physical copy and check out the pictures.

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Thank you to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for an advance copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.

Interesting read on a very interesting man and the life he lived

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Fantastic biography of the icon that was Peter Beard.
His art, his photography, his obsession with Africa and the many relationships with women was explored throughout his biography,

I didn't know that much about him but I loved this biography.

Highly recommend.

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A Fascinating Insight to a Remarkable Life

I was not too familiar with the life of Peter Beard before reading this book. But wow, this man was interesting, who lived a life that spanned all across the globe and has associations with the most wide-array of people imaginable.

Peter Beard was a photographer, artist, and person who loved Africa and its wildlife. This was the main inspiration for his work. He was extremely popular, he was mauled by an elephant which nearly killed him, was a womanizer, and was constantly broke. This book points out how much of an enigma and walking contradiction that Peter Beard seemed to be. People hated him and loved him at the same time. He was a famous photographer whose work was sought out by many celebrities, he but never wanted his work displayed in a museum gallery (and it never was).

This novel was entertaining and well done, but I feel like you had to know a little about the life of Peter Beard before diving into this book. So I do not think I would recommend it to people who are not at least a little familiar with Peter Beard and his life. As a result, there were a lot of moments in this book where I just could not connect or was not feel as invested as I would have otherwise. It was hard to keep track of all the people that were mentioned that Peter associated with and I did not have as much background knowledge on the celebrities or art scene to get as much out of this story as I would have otherwise.

Having said this, I feel like this book was well done in conveying how “Wild” the life of Peter Beard was. However, in my opinion the way this book was written, it certainly is a book for readers with specific taste and interests of Peter Beard and the famous, celebrity scene in which this book heavily comprises.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a copy of this book. My opinions and viewpoints in this review are my own.

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What a fascinating read! I am biased in that I naturally enjoy biographies, but Beard's life of self-indulgence captivated me. I cannot say that I loved him, but I'm always fascinated to learn about those who have the stars in their eyes and get drunk off the moon. Recommended for those who love photography, art, or learning about eccentric characters, this one is for you.

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There were so many things I loved about this book—particularly the depiction of his camp in Africa, the spectacular photo shoots that location inspired, and the drama of the old New York club scene. I did not love Peter Beard. Prior to requesting this book on Netgalley, I had been to Africa, and I remembered vaguely that Peter Beard was once married to Cheryl Tiegs. That was about all I knew when I read the book; I referred frequently to photos online to see what Boynton was referencing. I don't know if it was just the ebook I read, but I really would have loved to see some of the photos that were written about—guessing maybe Beard's former wife refused the rights on them, though.

I had a lot of questions after reading this book. Here is a trust fund baby with no money...ever. Aside from his brother, what happened to his family? Yes, maybe he decided to bravely go it alone, but then he relies on other artists, who often have so much less than him. While I found Beard's personal life astonishing—he was able to maintain this drug and alcohol-fueled lifestyle well into his 70s—I also found his behavior, for the most part, abhorrent. The fact that so few of his former paramours felt animosity toward him was stunning to me, given how he treated them and how easily he moved on. He must have been some kind of charming, because almost all of them remember him fondly—even Tiegs—though most just said he was such a handsome man. Was that it? Conversely, the idea that this same person, who treated others so cavalierly, fostered such a deep and abiding love for the wilds of Africa was equally stunning. His photographs were undeniably beautiful, and the stories about his art demonstrated the genius of his work. So does an artist need to be a good person, to have a moral compass too? My feelings wavered throughout, especially given the very brutal, graphic acts of violence he perpetrated. And yes, they were complicated by his steadfast fight for true conservation in Africa. At least I think he was steadfast. There were complications there too.

I recommend this book, because honestly, it is fascinating. And also, it's a train wreck. I need you all to read this so I have someone to talk to about it. We can discuss what a terrible person he was, but also, I have to begrudgingly admit, an amazing artist.

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In this exhaustive biographical treatise, Boynton gives us a complete picture of the larger-than-life man and artist, Peter Beard.

From his early days as a careless teenager, to his college years of exploration, through his reckless younger days becoming a myth of himself, and his equally bombastic later life, we are treated to all the sides of Beard’s character, good and bad, and the ever-revolving door of celebrity supporting cast in his life. The whole thing reads like a tabloid and I had to keep reminding myself it wasn’t fiction. 

Fascinating stuff! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my free copy. These opinions are my own.

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Peter Beard’s biographer reveals the true man behind the art. Beard came from prominent New England families but he was not interested in playing any society games. He was adventurous and rebellious from the start. He fell in love with Africa on a school trip which led to a lifelong relationship with the continent He was passionate about animals and began using his photography to educate on conservation. Eventually his artwork (mixed media collages that included his photography, drawing, blood, dirt etc) made him famous.

His personal life was a disaster. He was reckless, from ingesting copious amounts of drugs to doing anything for a shot, including putting his head in a crocodile’s mouth. He was movie star handsome and seduced women after woman. His third wife, Nejma, looked the other way throughout their marriage and eventually became his caretaker in his old age. She still controls his estate and all of his artwork.

Like everyone else, Boynton seemed to be drawn to Beard and looked at his bad boy behavior in an affectionate light. This biography is exhaustive, to the point of being exhausting. He went into great detail of his many legal issues and personal conflicts. It was an overwhelming amount of information. It was fascinating to know more about this artist that I’d followed for years but I didn’t find him very likable. It seems that genius requires a certain amount of selfishness and Boynton’s biography bears this out.

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A Complicated Man of Many Talents

Peter Beard was larger than life from his exceptional talent as a photographer, to his love of Africa, and beautiful women. He visited Kenya as a young man and fell in love with Africa, perhaps his most enduring love affair. He married three times, but he couldn’t resist taking many lovers. He was the life of the party, but could never seem to pay his bills and often touched his friends to pick up meals and hotel bills.

There was also a dark side. He took drugs and drank to excess. He may have had an undiagnosed mental illness for many years. However, in his later years it manifested as depression and eventually dementia. His death was almost as iconic as his life, wandering off from his home in Hamptons to die in a forest and not be discovered for days.

The author was the perfect person to write this biography being a friend to Beard for many years. He tells all the amusing and dangerous stories, but he also manages to make Beard come to life as a complex individual. I enjoyed this book. If’s fun to read because of the famous people and incidents, but it also leaves you thinking about the man and how he lived an exceptional life.

I received this book from St. Martin’s Press for this review.

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I was provided a free copy of this book from @netgalley and @stmartinspress I'm exchange for my honest review.
I was intrigued by this book as I appreciate photography and have a love for Africa, but had never heard of Peter Beard. Throughout the story I kept recognizing names of other famous people he interacted with, including many from Kenya, but wasn't sure why I had never heard of Beard. 🤷🏻‍♀️
But, wow, what a crazy life he lived! It was hard to imagine, sometimes, how he was liked so well by so many people when he did all the crazy things he did. He was definitely all about that sex, drugs, and rock n' roll lifestyle.
Overall it felt a bit long and repetitive for me. He did a lot of partying, taking new lovers, producing art, and a lot of crazy things in between, but some of the details got a bit heavy for me. Not knowing him before, I was expecting more of the fun safari stories, and less of the other stuff. Maybe if I was a fan beforehand I would have appreciated it more.
Overall it was still an interesting story of a very unique man.
It was published this past Tuesday, so if it sounds like something you would be interested in, go ahead and give it a try!

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Wild is the portrait of Peter Beard perfect title for this
dive into his life.Extremely talented a man who always had beautiful women and interesting people around him.He was a true enigma and his many unique adventures his talent makes for an interesting gossipy read.#netgalley#st.martins

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Graham Boynton has written a very thorough account of Peter Beard's life, but in the end it seems hollow. Beard was a flawed and frenetic character who, it seems, was a whirlwind of action. His life was in the doing - embracing a life in Africa that went from hunting to photography eventually seguing to New York and art. It was always accompanied with a cloud of other people with whom to party and talk. There was also a parade of mistresses, lovers and three wives. It may have been a charmed life (he had connections to get him out of prison in Kenya) but he had a darker side as Boynton relates. Unfortunately Beard's estate probably made it impossible to show any of his art and really delve into it, especially his collage diaries. It would seem that some of Beard the person might be found there, but maybe not. His life was certainly one adventure piled on another and on that level worth the read.

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Peter Beard has always been one of my favorite photographers. I have gifted many of his books to my friends and family while owning several in my collection. It's always interesting to learn the story behind the man behind the camera. He definitely led a fascinating life.

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Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton

Peter Beard. The adjective Rake comes to mind. Handsome and charming, women swarmed to him. He was comfortable anywhere with anyone and would disappear for days or weeks without explanation. Always forgiven.

This book reads as a Who’s Who of hundreds of famous people around the world who adored Peter Beard. They’d pay his bills, pick up bar and restaurant tabs. No matter. It was for Peter. Many were invited to his Kenyan ranch or his homestead in Montauk, NY, where he’d hold court and convince his guests to get on another project of his.

If you like long lists of name dropper stories, this is your book. Some of the short tales of Peter’s escapades were interesting, but finding them among the list of friends and acquaintances was tedious.

I thank #StMartinsPress and #NetGalley for this book, but can only give three stars.

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I knew nothing about Peter Beard when I received this book but the blurb made it sound like a fascinating life but I don't feel like I know much about him even after reading this. There was a lot about African history which I found interesting but that didn't tell me much about Peter Beard himself other than he said this, he drank that, he took a picture of this. I don't feel like I am getting to know him at all. There are so many people in this story as to be expected so I decided not to keep track of who was who.

Photography is a visual thing so I'd much rather see the picture than read a page description and try to find the image on line.

As a person I really didn't like him. He is all about being the center of attention, doesn't care whose feelings he hurts and does dangerous things that could harm him and others. He seems like someone that just hasn't grown up. What I don't understand is the affection all of his lovers held for him no matter how bad he treated them.

The writing was fine but I think someone who knew more about Peter Beard and his art would enjoy this and maybe rounding out his character more for them.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a digital copy.

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well written and researched. Absorbing life of this man I had barey heard of prior to reading the book. I enjoyed it. Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley!

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My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher St. Martin's Press for this biography about this gifted photographer and his very diverse life

People, even people viewed by the world as successful, man of the world, and a love of the ladies, are filled with contradictions. A man of his word, except to the wives he betrayed, a hunter who discussed conservation, on his terms. A nature photographer who was in demand as a fashion photographer. Born of wealth who could not pay for meals. Peter Beard was all of these things. Beard's life was one of adventure, and traveling in the highest levels of society, who might only have been truly happy in a hunting camp taking photos. Graham Boynton captures the life of this man in the book Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover, which gives a portrait of this man as astonishing and truthful has the photographs Beard was famous for.

Peter Beard won the lottery on almost everything. Beard had looks, confidence, poise and the background and connections that in America get a person, even a mediocre person far. Beard was far from mediocre. After a year in England which gave him both the manners and attitude that would help him mingle in high society, Beard went to Yale where a chance meeting opened his life to the one thing that he never seemed to have stop loving, Africa. A trip there changed his life, instilling him a love in the continent, and the wildlife. Soon he was hunting and taking photos, his book The End of the Game showed a country that was slowly changing, one that friends did not want to see go. Fashion photography got him money, and friends like Mike Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Studio 54 comrades, along with a supermodel wife, his second and a lot of casual girlfriends. With his thrid wife came a bit of stability, until illness began to slowly weaken him.

A big brassy book about a very big man. Boynton was a longtime friend of Beard, and friends were not things that Beard kept easily. A book like this could easily be a hagiography, but Boynton is quick to point out mistakes, and bad things that Beard did, and to properly list the things he did right. Beard's life really does read like a fictional take on a character from the 1960's even the 1930's. The writing is good, and never drags in any places. As Beard ages, and dementia and stroke symptoms begin to slow Beard down, the book still finds ways to impress on readers just what a person Beard was.

A fascinating look a life that seems so large, so not of this day anymore. A life so big that it in many ways seem fictional. Big game hunter, fashion photographer, married to one of the first supermodels. This is all the stuff of superheroes or even P. G. Wodehouse characters. For fans of biographies about people who lived life by their own terms, no matter who got hurt. And for fans of photography and artists who really did suffer in many ways for their art.

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Unfortunately I did not finish this one. Grabbed me at the beginning but then dragged and repeated information over and over. Thanks anyway netgalley!

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Wild: The Life of Peter Beard
By Graham Boynton

Peter Beard was a very complex and interesting character. He was born to old wealth in America, but he was definitely the black sheep of the family. At an early age he traveled to Kenya and started a lifelong love affair with the dark continent. He was an artist in the field of photography, and used his gifts to promote his ideas about conservation in Africa; he believed that the arm chair do-gooders were using conservation methods that were destroying the wilderness and driving animals like elephants and rhinos to the brink of extinction.

Peter was full of contradictions. He was irresponsible, having no concern about his financial extravagances or the value of material things, including his own work. He was a party animal throughout his life – alcohol, drugs, and women were his constant companions. There was nothing he liked better than lively discussions over a range of topics with his multitude of friends. He refused to be tied down, even for the sake of his three wives and his daughter.

This is a well written biography of a fascinating man who arrived in Africa as the days of the great white hunter were waning – and basically traded in his guns for his cameras. He was a giant in his field. Thank you, Mr. Boynton, for this introduction to the larger than life character of Peter Beard. "Wild" is an apt title indeed.

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Peter Beard was a talented photographer whose most stunning work was done in Africa, especially photos of majestic animals. . Born to huge wealth, he was also blessed with looks and intelligence. He was always in the place that later became very fashionable and he took photos of it all. Montauk, Africa, Studio 54...he was a trend setter. He had many relationships with famous women despite being married, and was similarly uncaring with his male friends, among whom was the author. People who knew Beard were puzzled that he always seemed broke and often let friends pay his way, and several people interviewed for the book experienced Beard to be racist. But he always had that personal magnetism.
. This book is well-written and fully conveys Beard’s charisma, talent, and it’s up to the reader whether to accept the good with bad and plunge in.

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