46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Great true adventure book: How elephants helped to win a war,
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This review is from: Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II (Kindle Edition)
Born in 1897, during the declining years of the British colonial empire, J.H. “Elephant Bill” Williams was a veteran of both World Wars. After World War I, he went to Burma and made a career of overseeing the captive elephants which helped to move teak wood from the jungles of Burma to the markets of the world.
Williams had an innate love for the Burmese elephants and they loved him back. Whereas the traditional training of elephants had tended to be unkind or even brutal, Elephant Bill revolutionized their care. He treated the animals with kindness and respect, and even started elephant training schools so they could gradually learn the skills they needed, instead of breaking their spirits to bring them into submission.
Williams’ knowledge of elephants assumed dramatic importance during World War II when Burma was invaded by Japan. The Japanese would have captured the Burmese elephants to build roads and bridges for their advancing army. Williams, however, was able to employ his skills and experience to help the British Army and the Allies retain the valuable animals for their own military needs.
The historic long trek of the elephants with fleeing British refugees, over incredibly difficult terrain into India, was breathtaking. Author Vicki Constantine Croke has done a remarkable job of finding original materials about J.H. Williams and his family, and especially about his work in WWII.
I highly recommend “Elephant Company,” which I read in a Kindle version.