James S. Gardner
Born in Albany, New York, Gardner moved to Florida in 1947. He attended the University of Kentucky and Florida Atlantic University where he received a BA degree and met his wife of 45 years, Barbara. They have one daughter Jennifer.
Gardner began to write "The Lion Killer" in part, to bring attention to what is happening to African countries, like Zimbabwe and the Sudan. "Zimbabwe was once called the bread basket of the Dark Continent and now it's reduced to a basket case. The unemployment rate is 94%. The annual inflation rate peaked at one billion percent per month until the currency finally collapsed. The AIDS pandemic has dropped the average Zimbabwean woman's life expectancy from 63 years to 37 in only 10 years."
Raised in Florida, where he continues to live, Gardner took his first trip to Africa in 1968. He landed in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the midst of the Rhodesian Bush War, which proved to be disconcerting when he confused body bags for golf travel bags at an airport. Flying to Entebbe, Uganda in 1972 proved even more disturbing when a riot ensued because Idi Amin declared that all Indians must leave the country.