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The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the…

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild (2009)

by Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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excellent story, very interesting. Author has wildlife preserve in Africa and took in herd of rogue elephants, learns their behavior and communication ways ( )
  cynthiasgarden | Jul 26, 2014 |
a good story. anthony is now dead--suddenly of a heart attack. good way to go i guess. ( )
  mahallett | Mar 29, 2014 |
Anthony does a magnificent job of sharing his story of settling a herd of seven wild elephants on his 5,000 acres of bush in Zululand, South Africa. I respect his decision to try to extend the reserve to include the neighboring tribal land so that a greater number of wild animals might live comfortably without interference. The elephants get the credit they deserve for being remarkably intelligent and resilient, despite extremely harsh treatment and bad memories early on. It is a source of great happiness that there are such people working tirelessly to create an environment of inclusion in a world that increasingly seems focused on self-aggrandizement.

Nana becomes the troubled herd’s defacto matriarch after the herd’s real matriarch is shot and killed just prior to the herd’s transfer to Thula Thula, Anthony’s game reserve, in 1999. Nana had learned many tricks about escaping from electrified enclosures from her earlier mentor and the herd often worked in concert to outwit their captors. Happily, Anthony seemed to understand that a calming presence and personal connection with the lead elephant could make a difference to the herd’s peace of mind. Slowly, over a period of weeks, he managed to make Nana understand that their new home could be a place of comfort and peace. They stayed and thrived, becoming important members of the reserve’s wildlife bounty.

Anthony shares his experiences in words and photos, and tells of difficulties with poachers, local tribal courts, unruly bushrangers, and with the wild elephants themselves. When money gets tight, he is forced to open a tourist lodge to host foreign guests, but does it with customary goodwill and bonhomie.

Late in the book, Anthony tells us he and one of his rangers went to Baghdad during the early part of the Iraq War to help save the zoo animals, and wrote a book about the experience called [book:Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo|409377]. His ranger then went on to Kabul, Afghanistan, to do the same thing there. The experience of living in the bush with these resourceful folks and animals over the period of time it takes to read the book is wonderfully energizing and one hates to leave their company at the end. One feels quite as though one is losing a friend. Anthony is not simply an elephant whisperer, but fortunately a man who spoke to us, too.

Lawrence Anthony died March 2, 2012 at the age of sixty-one. His obituary in The Telegraph of Britain is here. Graham Spence is a journalist and native Zimbabwean who co-wrote three books with Lawrence Anthony. He also writes fiction. A short bio is here. ( )
  bowedbookshelf | Mar 3, 2014 |
I'm just fascinated by elephants and was completely drawn in by Anthony's account of the day to day happenings on the game reserve. Amazing details of becoming acquainted with a rogue herd and understanding their interactions. Definitely recommended to animal lovers and travelers. KH ( )
  splinfo | Sep 7, 2013 |
My initial expectations for The Elephant Whisperer didn't reach beyond a sentimental animal-lover-book (eg. "Marley and Me") super-sized to elephant scale, but it turned out to be much more. Anthony, a native-born (white) African, owns and runs a game reserve and lodge in South Africa. In the book he describes daily scenes and incidents filled with danger and excitement from poachers, restless local tribes, snakes, crocks, storms - and at the center his attempt to bond with a small herd of troubled wild elephants he took in who otherwise would have been shot because of their rogue nature. The "whispering" isn't mystical, Anthony describes how animals communicate through eyes and tone and other methods so it is possible to establish a rapport. His descriptions of Africa to the point I felt transported and became lost in the book, it left a strong impression. I loved the book and was saddened to learn Anthony died in 2012, but look forward to the films (of this book and others) that may be forthcoming. Lawrence Anthony is as rare as the animals he seeks to preserve, the world lost a brave conservationist. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Jul 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lawrence Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spence, Grahammain authorall editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"When Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival and in order to save their lives, Anthony took them in." -- Back cover… (more)

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