Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir, 2014
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.
©2009, 2012 Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence (P)2012 Tantor
"An inspiring, multifaceted account, Anthony's book offers fascinating insights into the lives of wild elephants in the broader context of Zulu culture in post-Apartheid South Africa." (Publishers Weekly)
Geopolitics, history, and philosophy junkie. I love smoothly flowing prose that moves me effortlessly from one idea to the next.
I loved it, and that's not overstating it. Simon Vance did a tremendous job of narration. His accents framed the story exquisitely. And Lawrence Anthony (RIP) wrote a beautiful and inspiring tale, the world was blessed to have him here. This is truly a story for the whole family (yeah, about 2 or 3 cuss words is all). It will make you want to visit Africa for yourself.
There were so many of them it'd be hard to say.
This was a beautiful book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a book full of hope but there is sadness, too. It points out how short sighted our species can be with respect to other species.
I didn't expect to love this book - but I DID! Touching real story with astouinding love and respect for animals, insight into animal's emotional intelligence amazed me!
Yes. It is very well read, with an engaging voice that brings the book alive.
The author. I would have enjoyed meeting him. He is a rare person who has a heart of love for life, creatures and humans and is willing to sacrifice for worthy goals.
This book contained a multitude of moving moments. Every chapter had cliff hangers that enticed the reader to keep reading. It was most enjoyable and I was sorry when it ended. I immediately looked for an audio version of his other books and bought the one I found.
How sad that this outstanding human escaped many dangers and overcame so many obstacles and then was overcome by his fork and knife only 2/3s of the way through his life expectancy. It is a huge loss to us all. But what a fitting end to the story, to have the two herds of elephants come to his home right after he died, stay two days as if to say farewell and then return to their wild lives.
Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.
I usually listen to audiobooks to learn. Sometimes I listen to be entertained. Other times I listen to get inspired. This book does all three.
I learned about Africa, life in modern day tribes, how a game reserve operates, the challenges they live, etc.
I was inspired by Lawrence Anthony's story, his humanity, his love for animals, his connection with God's creation. Also inspired by the Elephant's love, loyalty and profound knowledge.
I was entertained with the stories. This is one of those books where you ant to keep driving or stay in your car to keep listening to the story. The book is long, but it does not feel that way.
Lawrence (rest in peace) is an example, a great human that leaves us with great legacy in this book and great example with his actions.
Nkosi Sikelele uAnthony. (Zulu for May God Bless Mr Anthony) and others like him. When the majority of humanity is out to hunt, capture, kill and destroy animals, these people bring the gift of life.
Lawrence Anthony’s game reserve was aptly named Thula Thula. This Zulu and Xhosa word means ‘be calm, be still, be quiet’. An African mother will comfort a crying child with “Thula baba”, don’t fret. All will be well. You are protected and cared for. “Thula, thula”. This is how the animals are treated on the reserve. He writes about the silence of the bush, without city noises, so that the multitudinous sounds of nature can be heard. The “Whisperer”.
Yesterday, my cat brought me the cutest bush baby. It scampered up a curtain, and I spoke it calm, until it went to sleep on the curtain rail. Thula baba. Anthony does this with elephants.
I have the greatest respect and admiration for his incredible courage, patience, perseverance, compassion, understanding, wisdom, and the unconditional love he has for all creatures, as also the sacrifices he makes for them. He gives so much, and knows how to receive. His interaction with the elephants is so beautiful and special. Death, which is very much a part of life in Africa, is described with heartfelt poignancy, particularly the tragic demise of Mnumzaan, the young “rogue” elephant.
For me, the way animals “know” is deeply touching, and is sensitively portrayed in the book . I remembered the time we made a short pit-stop in a reserve. When I turned around my 6 year old child was gone. About to panic, I saw her blithely standing in between the front legs of an enormously tall giraffe. Instinct told me not to go near, but softly call her. Eventually, she ambled towards us, totally unharmed.
Anthony’s life with the elephants is quite extraordinary and forms the core of a wonderful and well-written book. I also loved hearing his other anecdotes, which are so close to home, a normal part of life in the bush. The dogs, veldfires, neighbours, snakes… I’ve visited with the westernised Sangomas with their leather jackets and cell phones, but also those in traditional skins with stuffed lions in their huts. It’s all so warmly familiar. We knew there was a problem with snakes on my son-in-law’s game farm, when a large Kudu bull lay dead in the grass, spiral horns intact. On our next game drive, he suddenly slammed on brakes of his 4x4, and jumped out running with his firearm. After a while, he returned saying “Black Mamba”. Whilst driving, he had seen it sliding down a tree and hoped to shoot it before it disappeared in the long grass.
This brings me to the only parts of the book I found difficult to believe or accept. Nobody I know would walk about unarmed in the bush. Yet, time and again Anthony has no weapon with him. That seems plain foolhardy, with so much to protect and so much unforeseen danger.
I have one more gripe. I think Simon Vance is a brilliant narrator, and I always enjoy listening to him read audiobooks. BUT, the British accent (which tends to go Australian when he tries to sound South African) sounds most colonial. Not a good thing here. It keeps reminding me how awful it was in the past, when those very colonials used hollowed out elephant feet as ashtrays. Horrific. I remember this all too well. I understand that the author’s background was very likely colonial, coming gradually further south from Kenya. But he’d clearly become far more Afrikanised. Surely, Audible, you could find a South African reader? Someone with a plausible accent who can pronounce the English, Afrikaans and Zulu words correctly? That takes my 5 Star rating down to 4.
Just a final word about the reviews, which were interesting to read before I bought the audiobook. A “preserve” involves a jar, food, and eating. A “reserve” is where wild animals are kept in a protected environment. No eating them! But thanks for your lovely comments.
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