Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

126 of 129 people found the following review helpful
I love Elephants, and was looking for a book that would recall the absolute joy I felt when I first saw them in the wild. I could not have done better than Lawrence Anthony's The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild.

Anthony, a former businesman-turned-conservationist, manages the Thula Thula private game reserve in Zululand, South Africa. At the beginning of the story, he accepted a "rogue" herd of Elephants onto his reserve. As soon as they arrive they start trying to escape. Anthony realizes that that, in order to calm the herd down, he has to communicate with them. Throughout the book, nthony often finds himself alone in the African bush with the Elephants. He uses the same verbal and physical language strategies that humans employ everyday to communicate with each other, such as changing the intonation of his voice. The amount of communication between Anthony and the Elephants is truly incredible. Eventually, he forms a strong bond with the two leading females. When one large female, Frankie, does charge him, Anthony is able to persuade her to stop by shouting, "Don't, it's me!" Throughout the book, Anthony shows just how deep and sincere the bond really is. In one memorable encounter, Anthony is standing near the giant matriarch Nana when he realizes she just wants her presence acknowledged. That simple act of recognition satisfied Nana and cemented their connection.

Part memoir, part collection of anecdotes, each chapter of The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild contains a different and generally exciting story about Anthony, the team at Thula Thula, and the herd. If the book had a theme it would be emotions and wildlife. I often felt like Anthony took me, as the reader, along for a ride on an emotional roller coaster. I've read many books about Elephants, but found myself floored by some of their antics. Anthony reports that whenever he arrived back at Thula Thula from a trip, the Elephants would line up to greet him at the front gate. Once, when he was in Durban and his flight was canceled, the Elephants stopped their march to the gate and turned back - at exactly the same time Anthony heard his flight was canceled. At another point, the Elephants demonstrated their love for freedom by opening the gate to a boma enclosure and freeing a herd of Nyala antelope that was being prepared for transport. Other animals, from the Elephants to Anthony's dog, show amazing courage in the face of adversity. By the end of the book, I was almost in tears, but also happy to know that humans were slowly breaking the barriers of communication with Elephants.

None of this is to ignore the human characters in the book. They're also an incredible bunch. Françoise, Anthony's Parisian wife, helps in the maintenance of the lodge and often provides lighthearted relief. David, the bush ranger, seems absolutely fearless as he drives toward burning fires and ventures out into the night with two male lions on the prowl. The regal Zulu king Nkosi provides a connection to the Zulu tribe's past as well as a vision for the future. As with all good heros, the book has its set of villains, from poachers to cattle barons. It even features several shootouts.

The real question isn't whether to get this book - it's how soon you're going to book a trip to Anthony's Thula Thula reserve (where I heard his wife makes a great cuisine). I've already told my wife that it will be our next adventure. In the meantime, I ordered Lawrence Anthony's Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.

Here are some other good books and movies on Elephants that I've enjoyed:
Echo and Other Elephants
Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family
Elephant Destiny
Elephant
When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2009
I have been fascinated by elephants ever since seeing a documentary on them so it's no wonder this book caught my attention. From page one it grabbed me and kept enthralled throughout. The relationship between Lawrence Anthony and his wild herd of elephants is something to be admired. I felt transported to another world as I read about life on "Thula Thula". This book is not just about elephants but about all the adventures of life in the African Wild. I am so captivated with this man and his work that I now want to visit Thula Thula one day so I can meet this amazing herd of jumbos. If you are an animal lover, especially exotic animals, I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
I heard sadly that at the beginning of this month, Lawrence Anthony is no longer with us. He left an amazing legacy at the Thula Thula reserve in KwaZulu, Natal, South Africa, , and his work with conservation, and wild animals. This is party recounted in this book. The author's love of the animals here is felt palpably in the pages of the book. It is a memoir that will keep you captivated. We learn of how the elephants would come out in a herd to greet Lawrence, and would actually start their procession when he was on the way back to the reserve. How when his flight was canceled at one point, the elephants actually reversed their procession to greet him. The mourning of the animals for young ones in their herd, the way that elephants herd guided a angry and half-demented bull away from the author and his colleagues, when it was about to charge. also how the author actually used inflections and changes of tone etc to communicate with the elephants, stopping the poised charge of a young female in the herd by saying 'Dont charge-its me"
Most amazing is the elephant's communication system through telepathy that stretches from herd to her across the continent

Also insights in to Zulu culture and spirituality, through the connections the author built up with the Zulu people on Thula Thula, who helped him run the reserve, and fight off poachers.
Interesting people such as Lawrence's French wife, Fracoise and the intrepid game ranger, David.

The accounts you can read of the mourning by the elephants after the passing of Lawrence Anthony, show us how animals have feelings often as deep as that of humans, and their attachments to both other animals and their human friends. And how they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
I love Elephants, and was looking for a book that would recall the absolute joy I felt when I first saw them in the wild. I could not have done better than Lawrence Anthony's The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild.

Anthony, a former businesman-turned-conservationist, manages the Thula Thula private game reserve in Zululand, South Africa. At the beginning of the story, he accepted a "rogue" herd of Elephants onto his reserve. As soon as they arrive they start trying to escape. Anthony realizes that that, in order to calm the herd down, he has to communicate with them. Throughout the book, nthony often finds himself alone in the African bush with the Elephants. He uses the same verbal and physical language strategies that humans employ everyday to communicate with each other, such as changing the intonation of his voice. The amount of communication between Anthony and the Elephants is truly incredible. Eventually, he forms a strong bond with the two leading females. When one large female, Frankie, does charge him, Anthony is able to persuade her to stop by shouting, "Don't, it's me!" Throughout the book, Anthony shows just how deep and sincere the bond really is. In one memorable encounter, Anthony is standing near the giant matriarch Nana when he realizes she just wants her presence acknowledged. That simple act of recognition satisfied Nana and cemented their connection.

Part memoir, part collection of anecdotes, each chapter of The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild contains a different and generally exciting story about Anthony, the team at Thula Thula, and the herd. If the book had a theme it would be emotions and wildlife. I often felt like Anthony took me, as the reader, along for a ride on an emotional roller coaster. I've read many books about Elephants, but found myself floored by some of their antics. Anthony reports that whenever he arrived back at Thula Thula from a trip, the Elephants would line up to greet him at the front gate. Once, when he was in Durban and his flight was canceled, the Elephants stopped their march to the gate and turned back - at exactly the same time Anthony heard his flight was canceled. At another point, the Elephants demonstrated their love for freedom by opening the gate to a boma enclosure and freeing a herd of Nyala antelope that was being prepared for transport. Other animals, from the Elephants to Anthony's dog, show amazing courage in the face of adversity. By the end of the book, I was almost in tears, but also happy to know that humans were slowly breaking the barriers of communication with Elephants.

None of this is to ignore the human characters in the book. They're also an incredible bunch. Françoise, Anthony's Parisian wife, helps in the maintenance of the lodge and often provides lighthearted relief. David, the bush ranger, seems absolutely fearless as he drives toward burning fires and ventures out into the night with two male lions on the prowl. The regal Zulu king Nkosi provides a connection to the Zulu tribe's past as well as a vision for the future. As with all good heros, the book has its set of villains, from poachers to cattle barons. It even features several shootouts.

The real question isn't whether to get this book - it's how soon you're going to book a trip to Anthony's Thula Thula reserve (where I heard his wife makes a great cuisine). I've already told my wife that it will be our next adventure. In the meantime, I ordered Lawrence Anthony's Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.

Here are some other good books and movies on Elephants that I've enjoyed:
Echo and Other Elephants
Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family
Elephant Destiny
Elephant
When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2009
I loved this book. It took me into a world that I could only hope to experience. Lawrence Anthony has a story to tell that will fill hearts with exhiliration, joy, as well as sadness and exasperation. He really reveals the depth of elephants in a way that only one who has spent considerable time and love on them can. A great read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2010
I had just come back from my first holiday to South Africa and had the immense pleasure of visiting the Kruger National Game Park. During my stay in South Africa, I discovered my fascination for elephants and when I saw this book, I needed to have it.

With my memories so fresh, everything in this book was making me feel as if I was still there, being with the author watching the elephants and other animals. The book is beautifully written and I laughed and cried. Glorious triumphs, small and big successes, sad losses, strong emotions... and so much insight into the inner world of the elephant soul. A book you won't easily forget.

One day I will visit Thula Thula, that's for sure.

Definitely a fantastic book for any elephant and African wildlife lover.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
Oh yes, I'm well aware (oh boy am I ever) of the Human outcry that our species is "special", that we are "superior", that intelligence and consciousness do not exist outside of Homo Sapiens. < rolling my eyes > As a specialist in animal behavior I could have told you thirty years ago that THIS POSITION IS SERIOUSLY FLAWED, but who would have listened to me?

What IS consciousness? Some ingredients are:
effective social-cognitive strategies
theory of mind
audience effect

ALL OF THESE are found in MANY species other than Homo Sapiens. Let me not even suggest that the mythological foundations of traditional religious thought focus upon the importance of our species, above and beyond all others. DOES consciousness exist outside of US? YOU BET IT DOES. Is anecdotal information worthy of serious consideration? IT BETTER BE or your entire "word of God" is patently without any worth at all: did anyone ever consider THAT?

The members of other species are capable of thought, planning, culture, EMOTION, WE ARE NOT ALONE. Don't need to look in the skies, folks; look around you. We are one species among millions; all life is equal, all life is important, consciousness is ubiquitous, and there is far more to this experience than is "dreamt of" in any philosophy.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2010
The title refers not to the human who one would nominally assume
be the whisperer. Instead, the title refers to the elephants
themselves who use deep supersonic rumbles to whisper with
each other and any human who possesses the ability to resonate
with them. If you are in tune with the animals, these supersonic
waves will wash you in a sense of well-being, or dread, as the case may be.
The author of the book appears to be much in tune with these
large creatures, and as a result establishes unbelievable rapport
with the animals to the extent that they appear to know when
his flight 200 miles away is missed and turn away from the
gate where they had gathered to welcome him.

To a good extent, this book reminded me of Joy Adamson's "Born
Free." In both the books, the humans are merely incidental
to the welfare and well being of the animals under their charge.
That they learn to discover great beauty, tenderness,
and humility by the close encounters with a different species
goes without saying. Us humans, full with hubris tend to think
that we are the center of the world. Nothing could of course, be
further than the truth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Lawrence Anthony's, The Elephant Whisperer, is not just a book about elephants, but also about life on a African conservationist game reserve. This is indeed an intriguing tale for anyone interested in African animals and particularly elephants. We are introduced not only to these wonderful animals but the trials and tribulations of life on a private reserve.

Lawrence Anthony the owner of Thula Thula a conservationist game sanctuary in Zululand, South Africa is offered a herd of rogue elephants if he takes possession of them immediately. He agrees not knowing what is in store for him. The elephants prove to be troublesome on their first arrival, quickly figuring out how to escape and eluding easy capture, but Anthony is unwilling to give up on them which would be a death sentence and works to gain their trust.

The reader learns of the many problems typical on a game sanctuary, as poachers, unexpected crocodiles, black mambos invading bedrooms, animal deaths, floods, brush fires and local tribal politics. It is extremely taxing work which can be quite potentially dangerous. While clearly Anthony thinks a great deal about his abilities and his mission, I cannot help but respect him for his sincerity and passion for his work and the animals in his care.

Have no doubt about it that the star of the show are the elephants and Anthony's struggle to save their lives and to get to know them as individuals without taking away their integrity as wild animals is heart warming. Nana , the matriarch is a wise and caring leader who makes valuable choices for the herd as a whole. The reader is introduced to each member of the herd and given an opportunity to understand their individual personalities.

The writing while not great literature is an easy read and enjoyable:

"At dusk, animals that lived in the sun went off to sleep wherever they felt safest. The landscape emptied, but not for long. It was soon repopulated under the light of the African stars by creatures of the night. Warthogs gave way to bush pigs with short, stiletto tusks; tawny and martial eagles were replaced by giant eagle owls that scouted the skies on silent wings, swooping down on vondos, plump oversized bush rats whose sluggish vulnerability is countered only by its prolific breeding capacity."

I would recommend this book to any animal lover.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2012
The only negative about the book is the title. It doesn't do it justice when compared with the horse and dog whisperers. If you love the open free roam wild, ABHOR the idea of murdering beautiful game animals for sport, and enjoy well a written narrative about the beauty of elephants, you will love this book. I did not want it to end
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick (Paperback - June 25, 2013)
$11.03

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.