Elephant Company

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
Author: Vicki Croke
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0679603999
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 368
View: 2471

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK The remarkable story of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a “forest man” for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant wallah.” Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory. In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude. But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges, and transport the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. Now well versed in the ways of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even added to his stable by smuggling more elephants out of Japanese-held territory. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced his most perilous test. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim. Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventure, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism. Praise for Elephant Company “This book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The New York Times Book Review “Splendid . . . Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s story is an often moving account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his unusual bond with the largest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe “Some of the biggest heroes of World War II were even bigger than you thought. . . . You may never call the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post “Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time From the Trade Paperback edition.

Elephant Company

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
Author: Vicki Croke
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
ISBN: 1400069335
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 343
View: 7019

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Tells the story of James Howard "Billy" Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world's largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill.

Elephant Company

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
Author: Vicki Constantine Croke
Publisher: Thorndike Press Large Print
ISBN: 9781410476005
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 619
View: 9987

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Tells the story of James Howard "Billy" Williams, who found his calling working with elephants in India, formed Elephant Company at the onset of World War II, and played an instrumental role in defeating the Japanese in Burma.

Elephant Company

The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
Author: Vicki Croke
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 0812981650
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 368
View: 8929

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"In 1920, Billy Williams came to colonial Burma as a "forest man" for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence and character of the great animals who hauled logs through the jungle, he became a gifted "elephant wallah." In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams's growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude. Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite British Force 136 and operated behind enemy lines. His war elephants carried supplies, helped build bridges, and transported the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced their most perilous test. Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Part biography, part war epic, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism"--Back cover.

The Lady and the Panda

The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal
Author: Vicki Croke
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780307535870
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 400
View: 8501

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Here is the astonishing true story of Ruth Harkness, the Manhattan bohemian socialite who, against all but impossible odds, trekked to Tibet in 1936 to capture the most mysterious animal of the day: a bear that had for countless centuries lived in secret in the labyrinth of lonely cold mountains. In The Lady and the Panda, Vicki Constantine Croke gives us the remarkable account of Ruth Harkness and her extraordinary journey, and restores Harkness to her rightful place along with Sacajawea, Nellie Bly, and Amelia Earhart as one of the great woman adventurers of all time. Ruth was the toast of 1930s New York, a dress designer newly married to a wealthy adventurer, Bill Harkness. Just weeks after their wedding, however, Bill decamped for China in hopes of becoming the first Westerner to capture a giant panda–an expedition on which many had embarked and failed miserably. Bill was also to fail in his quest, dying horribly alone in China and leaving his widow heartbroken and adrift. And so Ruth made the fateful decision to adopt her husband’s dream as her own and set off on the adventure of a lifetime. It was not easy. Indeed, everything was against Ruth Harkness. In decadent Shanghai, the exclusive fraternity of white male explorers patronized her, scorned her, and joked about her softness, her lack of experience and money. But Ruth ignored them, organizing, outfitting, and leading a bare-bones campaign into the majestic but treacherous hinterlands where China borders Tibet. As her partner she chose Quentin Young, a twenty-two-year-old Chinese explorer as unconventional as she was, who would join her in a romance as torrid as it was taboo. Traveling across some of the toughest terrain in the world–nearly impenetrable bamboo forests, slick and perilous mountain slopes, and boulder-strewn passages–the team raced against a traitorous rival, and was constantly threatened by hordes of bandits and hostile natives. The voyage took months to complete and cost Ruth everything she had. But when, almost miraculously, she returned from her journey with a baby panda named Su Lin in her arms, the story became an international sensation and made the front pages of newspapers around the world. No animal in history had gotten such attention. And Ruth Harkness became a hero. Drawing extensively on American and Chinese sources, including diaries, scores of interviews, and previously unseen intimate letters from Ruth Harkness, Vicki Constantine Croke has fashioned a captivating and richly textured narrative about a woman ahead of her time. Part Myrna Loy, part Jane Goodall, by turns wisecracking and poetic, practical and spiritual, Ruth Harkness is a trailblazing figure. And her story makes for an unforgettable, deeply moving adventure. From the Hardcover edition.

The Elephant Whisperer

My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
Author: Lawrence Anthony,Graham Spence
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429986458
Category: Nature
Page: 384
View: 1133

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When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom. The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.

Modoc

True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
Author: Ralph Helfer
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061748288
Category: Nature
Page: 352
View: 5063

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Spanning several decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again; through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.

Babylon's Ark

The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo
Author: Lawrence Anthony,Graham Spence
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429981439
Category: Nature
Page: 256
View: 9604

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When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the city center and caught in the war's crossfire. Once Anthony entered Baghdad he discovered that full-scale combat and uncontrolled looting had killed nearly all the animals of the zoo. But not all of them. U.S. soldiers had taken the time to help care for the remaining animals, and the zoo's staff had returned to work in spite of the constant firefights. Together the Americans and Iraqis had managed to keep alive the animals that had survived the invasion. Babylon's Ark chronicles the zoo's transformation from bombed-out rubble to peaceful park. Along the way, Anthony recounts hair-raising efforts to save a pride of the dictator's lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, and rescue Saddam's Arabian horses. His unique ground-level experience makes Babylon's Ark an uplifting story of both sides working together for the sake of innocent animals caught in the war's crossfire.

The Cowboy and His Elephant

The Story of a Remarkable Friendship
Author: Malcolm Macpherson
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 142997723X
Category: Nature
Page: 256
View: 7638

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In the late 1980s, a female baby elephant was born into a herd that lived on the plains of southern Africa. Her mother has carried her for two years, and normally she would have nursed her for five more. But the close-knit family of wild elephants was to face a predator for which it was no match--humans. In a "cull," her family was slaughtered in a few moments. Only the newborn female's life was spared. Terrified and bewildered the young elephant was transported to America to be sold. There she met the person who was to change her life forever. Bob Norris is a cowboy with an enormous empathy for animals that overwhelms his other emotions. He was raised with a pet bear and as a boy decided to become a real cowboy. He saw his dream come true in Colorado on one of the larger horse-and-cattle ranches in America. Handsome as a movie star, he became the Marlboro Man and appeared on TV and on billboards around the world. But with the passing of years, and with his own family grown up, he felt the need for something that he could not name. When she came into his life by happenstance, the hurt, vulnerable little elephant tapped the fullness of Bob's empathy, and an incredible bond between the most unlikely of friends was forged. Bob adopted the baby orphan elephant--named Amy--and patiently set about helping her recover from the trauma of her ordeal. He had never seen a real African elephant up close, except in zoos. He was a horseman and breeder of champion quarter horses. But through close observation, gentle training, humor, and endless perseverance, Bob gradually coaxed Amy into overcoming her mistrust of humans, and indeed, her fear of the world. The little elephant became a "hand" on Bob's ranch, tending to simple chores, riding the fences, and shadowing Bob on his horse. She developed a winning personality, and a strong character, and became a beloved member of the Norris family and partner to the ranch hands. But Bob knew from the start that the ultimate goal was for Amy to regain her confidence and her independence - even, if it were possible, to go back to the savannahs of Africa. This is the true story of how Amy and Bob came together. No one who reads The Cowboy and His Elephant can fail to be moved by such a simple tale of unlikely love.

Being a Beast

Adventures Across the Species Divide
Author: Charles Foster
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 1627796347
Category: Nature
Page: 272
View: 3335

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A passionate naturalist explores what it’s really like to be an animal—by living like them How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds. A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.

Elephant's Life

An Intimate Portrait from Africa
Author: Caitlin O'connell
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 0762775610
Category: Nature
Page: 208
View: 5898

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An Elephant’s Life provides a unique and fascinating immersion into the world of the African elephant, told by a leading field biologist who has been researching and photographing these animals in their natural habitat for nearly two decades. Here, for the first time, readers get a fuller picture of elephant society cast in a broader context, including the life of the male elephant in all its high drama.

H Is for Hawk


Author: Helen Macdonald
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 0802191673
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 288
View: 5510

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One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20) The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor and human "discover the pain and beauty of being alive" (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.

The Piano Tuner

A Novel
Author: Daniel Mason
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9781400077717
Category: Fiction
Page: 336
View: 3944

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A New York Times Notable Book A San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year “A gripping and resonant novel. . . . It immerses the reader in a distant world with startling immediacy and ardor. . . . Riveting.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times In 1886 a shy, middle-aged piano tuner named Edgar Drake receives an unusual commission from the British War Office: to travel to the remote jungles of northeast Burma and there repair a rare piano belonging to an eccentric army surgeon who has proven mysteriously indispensable to the imperial design. From this irresistible beginning, The Piano Tuner launches readers into a world of seductive, vibrantly rendered characters, and enmeshes them in an unbreakable spell of storytelling.

Smoke the Donkey

A Marine's Unlikely Friend
Author: Cate Folsom
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 1612348416
Category: History
Page: 300
View: 3922

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On a U.S. military base near Fallujah in war-torn Iraq, Col. John Folsom woke up one morning to the sound of a small, scruffy donkey tied up outside his quarters. He was charmed by this scrawny animal with a plaintive expression. Folsom and his fellow Marines took in the donkey, built him a corral and shelter, and escorted him on daily walks. One night, hanging out with the Marines as they relaxed after work, the donkey snatched someone's lit cigarette and gobbled it up, to the laughter of all. Suddenly, the donkey had a name: Smoke. More than a conversation topic for troops connecting with families back home, Smoke served as mascot, ambassador, and battle buddy. Smoke the Donkey recounts the strong friendship between Colonel Folsom and this stray donkey and the massive challenges of reuniting Smoke with Folsom in the United States following Folsom's retirement. After being given to a local sheik, Smoke wandered the desert before Folsom rallied an international team to take him on a convoluted journey to his new home. The team won a protracted bureaucratic battle to move Smoke from Iraq to Turkey, only to face a tougher fight getting him out of Turkey. Once in the States, Smoke became a beloved therapy animal for both children and veterans. Smoke's story, while tinged with sadness, speaks to the enduring bond between a man and an animal, unbroken by war, distance, or red tape.

An Elephant in the Garden

Inspired by a True Story
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
ISBN: 1466804459
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Page: 208
View: 362

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Lizzie and Karl's mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don't run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can they walk the same route when they have an elephant in tow, and keep themselves safe? Along the way, they meet Peter, a Canadian navigator who risks his own capture to save the family. As Michael Morpurgo writes in an author's note, An Elephant in the Garden is inspired by historical truths, and by his admiration for elephants, "the noblest and wisest and most sensitive of all creatures." Here is a story that brings together an unlikely group of survivors whose faith in kindness and love proves the best weapon of all.

The Fire Line

The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots
Author: Fernanda Santos
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250054036
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Page: 288
View: 1712

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“In Fernanda Santos’ expert hands, the story of 19 men and a raging wildfire unfolds as a riveting, pulse-pounding account of an American tragedy; and also as a meditation on manhood, brotherhood and family love. The Fire Line is a great and deeply moving book about courageous men and women.” - Héctor Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free. When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June of 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the twenty men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Granite Mountain Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. The Hotshots were loyal to one another and dedicated to the tough job they had. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. Impeccably researched, drawing upon more than a hundred hours of interviews with the firefighters’ families, colleagues, state and federal officials, and fire historians and researchers, New York Times Phoenix Bureau Chief Fernanda Santos has written a riveting, pulse-pounding narrative of an unthinkable disaster, a remarkable group of men and the raging wildfires that threaten our country’s treasured wild lands. The Fire Line is the winner of the 2017 Spur Award for Best First Nonfiction Book, and Spur Award Finalist for Best Western Contemporary Nonfiction.