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Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family Paperback – July 15, 2000


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Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family + The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild + Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226542378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226542379
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Amboseli National Park, near Mt. Kilimanjaro in southern Kenya, is home ground to some 600 elephants; this herd has been relatively free from human interference and was a major focus for field study. Moss, author of Portraits in the Wild, has been involved with the elephants of Amboseli since 1973; she and her colleagues have made a substantial contribution to our knowledge of elephant biology and behavior. Here, she follows one extended family through 13 years of good times and bad times, observing details of their daily lives. The book is organized by year and topic: each chapter begins with a synthesized narrative that introduces a single phase of lifesuch as mating, migration, social behavior, births and calves (this is the first study of elephant newborns and their development)that relates to family history. This is a captivating story of individual animals', rather than the author's, adventures. Moss affirms the old tale about elephants assisting one of their own who is injured or dying; she also reports that they recognize bare and bleached bones of their species. Any reader interested in animals will be captivated. Photos.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Moss builds upon earlier elephant studies, such as Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton's Among the Elephants (1975), by producing a complete census of the elephants in one area, Amboseli National Park in Kenya, and focusing on population dynamics and such little-understood behavior as childbearing and -raising. Moss focuses on a single family and uses semi-fictionalized episodes written from the elephants' point of view to generate sympathy, but also provides detailed and objective information. Her final chapter addresses the problems of elephant control and conservation, arguing pragmatically that ivory dealers have a stake in preserving the species. Suitable for both general libraries and zoological collections. Beth Clewis, S.I.L.S., Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming tale.
Mathgod
This is the most sensitive book ever written about the most amazing of animals - the elephant.
Saad bin Jung
My daughter, who is 9 years old and a huge elephant fan, loves this book!
dianehadley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By M. Mueller on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Moss' "Elephant Memories" provides intimate detail of her experiences with Amboseli's elephant herd in the 1970's-early '80s. Some of the material is dated as she has since learned new truths and details of elephant behaviors since this book was first published. One example was the discussion of the twin calves: Equninox and Eclipse. Moss was wondering if these male and female calves would be free-martens like cattle twins and unable to reproduce. Well, since those early days, the female has since matured and has had a calf. So the free-marten theory was disproved. But it was interesting to ponder. Basically, the story follows the lives of four closely related family groups--the "T" familes. In her research, she names most of the family members in one family starting with the same letter. So most of the "T" family members names start with the letter "T". I found the book to be entertaining, an elephant saga, yet informative, also. Moss teaches yet inspires empathy for these magnificent creatures. The celebration of elephant births and sorrow of their deaths with the continuation of their daily hardships--drought, killings, hunger and human encroachment are discussed in easy to read detail. "Elephant Memories" is part elephant soap opera and part Moss' speculations regarding her dealings with these pachyderms. There are two separate inserts of photos--one section is in black and white, the other is in color. For anyone who follows Moss' books and videos, it is a must to read this book. It shows photos of elephant's when she first started taking their photos up to the 13 years she researched them before publishing the book. It is interesting to see the "before" and "after" pictures of some of the younger elephants who then grew up. "Elephant Memories" is a great read. I've gotten a lot of detail in my own quest for elephant information by reading this book.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. At first, the book seems confusing as the author continuously refers to the individual elephants on a first name basis when one has no idea of who these "people" are. As the names become more familiar and the individual stories develop, the strange names develop into a wonderful, although at times anthropomorphic story on the natural history of these gentle animals. As she warns us, the author takes the liberty of adding unwitnessed, fictional pieces to most stories, which can be confusing and at times blur the objective observations that she makes with subjective, although probably real, assumptions.
But this book is not a hard core technical text, despite glimpses of it being so in the beginning. The book is about remembering the wonderful social and behavioral characteristics of individuals that make up a population. From matriarchs to lonely males, from birth to death during periods of drought or at the hands of Masai warriors, this book gives a comprehensive insight into relevant issues affecting the survival of the African elephant. The author comes across as a human being, with emotions that go beyond the hard-core science. Although her prose is dry at times, this book is very enjoyable and opens a magnificent window into the world of the Amboseli elephants.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Claus Hetting on January 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. Cynthia Moss takes the reader deep into the intricate social lives of Africa elephans in Amboseli National Park (Kenya), and leaves a profound impression. How very sensitive these animals are, and how endearing. It is entirely clear how these creatures have suffered at the hands of humans, but also nobody can read this book and not feel the urge to conserve this fantastic species. Also it may inspire some to travel to Amboseli to see the elephants 'in person' - an experience that you will never forget!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Ukwendu on May 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Cynthia Moss spent thirteen years in Amboseli National Reserve studying the elephants there. This book is the culmination of her work. Cynthia writes about the elephants as if they were her friends or her family. She is obviously as attached to them as one gets attached to a pet cat or dog.

Cynthia keeps family trees of the Amboseli elephants - noting births, deaths, etc. The names of members is the same family all begin with the same letter. That makes it very easy to keep track of each family as you are reading the book. Cynthia talks about the death of one of the elephants as if it were a part of her family.

That was a very sad section of this book. Ok, I admit it, I cried. Cynthia shows how the elephants care about each other just as humans do. They are sad, just like we are, when a family member dies.

In Elephant Memories, you get to learn about the everyday activities of the elephants, how they play, eat, drink, mate. You learn what the elephants do during the dry and rainy seasons, what they do to survive a drought.

A nice thing about the book is the chapters are written in such a manner that you could simply pick any chapter, read it, and still get a lot out of it. Each chapter is its own story - no need to read previous chapters. If you were interested in the births of elephants, you could read just that chapter with having read the previous ones. If you are at all interested in elephants, definitely read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Muia on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was fascinated and then awed by the enormous task taken on by Cynthia Moss. What an amazing life she's had. To be able to track, put in family groups and study the behavior of African elephants is wonderful for the world to see how important these animals are. Our knowledge would have been still in the dark ages without people like her and others (Joyce Poole) who dedicate their life for these magnificent animals. I'm sure Echo and others regard her as one of them.
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