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Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait From Africa Hardcover – November 22, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762763744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762763740
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 11.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An Elephant's Life is a delightful and very informative book packed with excellent photos of elephant behavior and elephants just being magnificent. I would highly recommend it for all ages. It's definitely a book elephant lovers should add to their libraries, and it's also be a good starting volume for those who have recently discovered just how amazing elephants are." --Cynthia Moss, Director of Amboseli Trust for Elephants and author of Elephant Memories
 
"The photographs and writing in this book depict the world from an elephant's point of view, taken at critical moments throughout an elephant's life. These images capture each episode, giving the reader a feeling of being there and a sense of the high emotion and the challenges of life within and outside elephant families. Today there are few elephants living undisturbed in Africa. The human footprint is closing in, destroying habitats, reaping ivory, and threatening elephant survival. The beauty of what is shown in this book may awaken human sentiments that will value elephants in their own right and lead to their survival." --Iain Douglas-Hamilton, co-author of Among The Elephants and Director of Save the Elephants.
 
"Caitlin O'Connell's fascinating work with elephants in Namibia's Etosha National Park has yielded important new insights into the ways in which  elephants communicate with each other, both up close and across great distances.  "An Elephant's Life" combines her hard-won scientific understanding with a loving and intimate visual portrayal of the lives of elephants.  With beautiful images by both Caitlin and Timothy Rodwell, this book will show you that we've just begun to comprehend these complex, emotional creatures." --Frans Lanting, photographer of Eye to Eye
 
"In photos and text, this book evokes the majesty of these gray and wrinkly but beautiful beasts, all the while reminding us of their sensitivities, their loyalties, and their wild nature." --USA Today
 
“In her coffee table book, elephant expert Caitlin O’Connell uses a career’s worth of photographs to illuminate the everyday activities of elephants. There are a handful of expansive vistas and breathtaking wildlife snaps in An Elephant’s Life, but mostly O’Connell gets up close and personal with a single pack of African behemoths, shooting them as they skulk around in a ho-hum-looking watering hole in Namibia’s Etosha National Park. That dusty, muddy theater offers plenty of insight into an elephant’s lifestyle – from power struggles to child rearing to their delicate everyday gestures of trust and endearment. O’Connell captures adult females using their trunks to hoist a young bull elephant to safety after he takes a spill in a drinking trough. She also gets a record of elephants defending their rights to the good drinking water and adolescent males bullying the little kids. In these frozen moments, you can look deep into their gray and wrinkled visages and imagine the same issues playing out at your own family’s Thanksgiving dinner.” --Washington Post

"An Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait from Africa blends animal photography with natural history to offer a personal look at elephant society, and comes from a leading field biologist who has researched and photographed elephants in nature for nearly twenty years. Photodocumentary tools mix with narrative journal insights to provide a more personal portrait of the elephant than competing elephant surveys." --Midwest Book Review

"Elephants have long been regarded with affection for their intelligence and praised for their loyal family bonds. Ecologist and naturalist Caitlin O’Connell has put together a fascinating photo journal of elephants as individuals and as members of family groups, along with pictures of associated denizens of the veldt in and around Etosha National Park in Namibia. This is a grand photo revue of these mammoth animals outlined within awesome vistas while displaying their identifying features, family members, social rules, and interactions. Meet the matriarchal family of Big Momma, or other recognized females called Sheba and Nandi, or of the bull elephant named Greg. Follow these families through the recorded photos and listen to their plans through the interpretive and concise explanatory text. The impressive array of colored prints conveys the flavor of Africa, and the reader continues along the safari examining the animals as they follow their normal routines. Each photo is accompanied by a short text clearly explaining some detail of the animal’s behavior or situation. This charming album recording elephant life will interest all age groups, especially those who love elephants. Youngsters will be especially enthralled to learn that much in elephant behavior parallels that of humans." --San Francisco Book Review


Praise for Caitlin O’Connell’s previous book, The Elephant’s Secret Sense

 

“A successful combination of science and soulfulness.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“A riveting account of scientific discovery. . . . An addictive narrative.” —Booklist

 

From the Inside Flap

An Elephant’s Life is a unique and intimate
immersion into the life of the African elephant that blends the immediacy of photography with a deep and passionate understanding of the subject. Here, for the first time, is an up-close and personal look at elephant society, narrated by a leading field biologist who has been researching and photographing these animals in their natural habitat
for nearly two decades.
Merging the visual traditions of photojournalism and the nature documentary with the narrative voice of such classics as Jane Goodall’s Chimpanzees of Gombe, at every turn of the page this remarkable book provides a singularly rich understanding of what life in all of its stages is like for the world’s largest land mammal.
Experience the amazing first steps of a baby elephant, encounter the frustrations and anguish of the coming-of-age male struggling to leave his family, witness the constant vigilance a matriarch exerts to protect her family, and feel the drama of a dominant male trying to hold on to power during times of peace and times of social upheaval.
A one-of-a-kind portrait of a beloved species,
An Elephant’s Life  will  forever change the way
we see elephants.

More About the Author

Dr. Caitlin O'Connell is a Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and a world renowned expert on elephants and vibrotactile sensitivity. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed nonfiction science memoir, The Elephant's Secret Sense (2007, Free Press), which highlights a novel form of elephant communication as well as their conservation plight. Her narrative nonfiction photo book An Elephant's Life (2011, Lyons Press) uses a graphic novel approach to revealing subtle and intimate aspects of elephant society. Her co-authored nonfiction children's book, The Elephant Scientist (2011, Houghton Mifflin Children's Books) won five awards, including the Robert F. Sibert Honor and Horn Book Honor for 2012. A Baby Elephant In The Wild (2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers) is a Junior Library Guild Select, and Elephant Don: The Politics Of A Pachyderm Posse (University of Chicago Press) comes out April 6, 2015. Her debut novel, Ivory Ghosts, comes out with Random House, April 7, 2015. O'Connell is the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization, Utopia Scientific (www.utopiascientific.org), dedicated to research and science education. She is also co-director of Triple Helix Productions, with a mandate to develop more accurate science content for the media. She has written five screenplays with science themes and has just finished her first co-authored novel to inspire girls with an interest in physics. She has taught Science Writing for Stanford University and The New York Times Knowledge Network. Visit her author website at www.caitlineoconnell.com.
Also visit her elephant blog: http://elephantskinny.tumblr.com/
And be sure to watch an award-winning documentary about her research on the Smithsonian Channel: http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/show/3373743/elephant-king

Customer Reviews

Great pictures as great as being right there.
Body beautiful
This is a book that would interest all who love animals, photography especially, of course, elephants.
wogan
Would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves elephants and wants to learn more about them.
michelle l harris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is not just a book that deals generally on elephants; it is specifically about the elephants and some other animals that frequent the Mushara waterhole in Namibia. It deals with Caitlin O'Connell, her husband Tim and the team members who set up at this waterhole to document the life of elephants. The photography includes their compound and how they accomplished the work they did.
Elephants are named and their natural life is documented. There is text to explain what happens and captions for the photos, although there are more photographs than text. The photography is wonderful, as well as the text.

The size of this book lends itself to share with a child... going through and explaining. It is a book, not just for adults, but one that a young person could grow into. It tells of family life, birth, adolescence, how the young group together and how control of the elders comes to an end, as well as the camp life of the humans.

The photos at times show an elephant looking right into the camera lens and somehow their personalities shine through. There is a wonderful series of photos showing young elephants bullying another until a mother steps in and a young elephant rescued by several of the older ones from being stuck in a water trough. The elephant's body language is explained also.

This is a book that would interest all who love animals, photography especially, of course, elephants. It will also give those who possibly are ambivalent about wildlife a greater understanding and connection to them.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Bohannan on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of us cannot even begin to imagine the depth of the family interactions that are part of an elephant's life in the wild. Yet O'Connell and Rodwell have given us these phenomenally high quality photos that capture the most personal moments of these elephants' lives. Not only is this is an entire book of photos that are so rich they are each suitable for framing, but these photos capture this family of elephants in ways that, I swear, it is like they capture the elephants feelings. The bulls look like the "dudes" and the mother elephant's tenderness towards her baby is palpable in these photos. The text gave me deep insight into the very private world of this elephant family yet it is written in a way that all readers can enjoy. After reading this book I felt like I was privy to the deepest family secrets of this group of elephants and very grateful for this glimpse into the elephants' world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By barbara campanaro on August 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is an educational read about elephant family life, birth, adolesence, bachelor herd life, maturing, mating, and the end of the bull's reign. The book is based on studying herds of elephants, primarily in Namibia, over the course of numerous seasons. Besides being a good educational read, the book contains some tremendous photographs, which provide excellent visuals to aid the readers understanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By longdistanceshopper on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely book by a smart, science-oriented woman who knows elephants. Her observations are keen, and her understanding of these amazing animals, her "elephant sense," is deep and true. The photos are excellent as well. If you want to know more about African elephants, this is a perfect book.
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By bev on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great coffee table book for anyone, but especially for animal lovers. Great photos! Never get tired of looking at it!
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By Gma 5 on January 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This books photography just draws one to pick it up and glance through. If you have more time, you can just get lost imagining.
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By Marge on August 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We have a daughter who is developmentally disabled and cannot read, but loves looking at pictures of elephants. We read the elephant stories to her. This book has wonderful stories. Well done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. It's a quick overview of some of the work that Ms. O'Connell and her colleagues are doing in Etosha National Park in Namibia. She's been working there for something like 20 years and has made significant contributions to the study of elephant communication. This book is more of an overview of the stages of elephant life. It's beautifully illustrated with photographs taken during the course of her work at Etosha and the photographs specifically illustrate some of the behaviors that are described in the book. I especially appreciated her insight into the lives of bull elephants, which aren't as well understood as the family lives of elephants. She is able to paint a rich picture of their lives and contributes to our understanding of the depth and sensitivity of these amazing beings. Great stuff and I'm grateful that a book like this is available.
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