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The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild | [Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence]

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

>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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (2101 )
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  •  
    Jacquelyn Knoxville, TN, United States 02-26-14
    Jacquelyn Knoxville, TN, United States 02-26-14
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    "Great narration for a wonderful story"
    What made the experience of listening to The Elephant Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    I listened to the audiobook version of this, and loved it! It was a great story. While the title is "The Elephant Whisperer" I'd say at least 50% of the book was not about elephants, but about the ups and downs of running a game reserve in Africa. Things like dealing with poachers, flash floods, and the local Zulu tribes, as well as the decision to accept paying guests and how to keep your pet dogs safe. I do feel that at times, I wondered when we would get back to the elephants, and the last chapter or two barely mentioned them until the very end. Even then, it felt like it was put in there to wrap up the book by keeping in spirit of the title, not because it was needed to complete the story.


    What other book might you compare The Elephant Whisperer to and why?

    I often felt it was in the spirit of "The Gentle Jungle"


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    The narrator read it well (much, MUCH better than the last audiobook I listened to) and really did his best to pronounce the Zulu words correctly, at least I think he was pronouncing them correctly. He was able to talk matter of factly, as the owner/operator of a large facility dealing with wildlife would sound. Nothing was over-dramatic in his inflections or emotions, which really added to my enjoyment of this selection.


    Any additional comments?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 02-20-14
    Kathy Chippewa Falls, WI, United States 02-20-14 Member Since 2013

    This is the only way to get through all the books I want to enjoy...and still I'm behind!

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    "Amazing Experience"
    What made the experience of listening to The Elephant Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    The narration, the fact that it felt that I was actually there in Zululand instead of thousands of miles away in a car, in my home. So well documented, warm, humorous, loving, sad and most of all touching. This book was educational without effort.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What was not to like, the whole story was memorable and I would listen to it again for the subtle details I missed. It's so wonderful to know that there are conservationists in the world that are making a concerted effort and a difference to the environment, that is bringing our present world a better place.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Oh, definitely Lawrence Anthony himself. His South African accent, knowledge of Zulu all made everything so easy to picture in my mind. Ooops, gotta watch the road! You get lost in the voice, and know Mr. Anthony is teaching and wanting you to experience and understand more about the elephants and other animals that are in his world.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I laughed at a Disney reference when referring to the elephants in a line, trunk holding onto tale. Sad when all is done to help a baby and yet..... and particularly the way the elephants did understand what was happening in Mr. Anthony's life and came forward to share. Example, the introduction of new babies to him, and they meeting his grandson.


    Any additional comments?

    Oh, this is such a memorable read and it was recommended by my daughter-in-law. I have since recommended everyone who will listen to me to purchase the audio version as somethings just don't work with the written page. I will investigate some of his other books. I did "google" his life. Sad that such a wonderful conservationist left this world on the youngish side, but the legacy and mark he left are truly amazing. Thank you Lawrence Anthony.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-17-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-17-13 Member Since 2014

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

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    "AN ENJOYABLE WORTHY READ"

    This book was a real departure from my usual fare- and having "whisperer" in the title was yet another hurdle in accepting this book into my ridiculously huge figurative pile of books that are on the go. The fact that once started I never diverted my attention until it was finished really says something for this book.

    I have always had a fascination for elephants. Beyond their remarkable anatomy, their intelligence is legendary. After checking this book out on Goodreads and reading a few reviews I snapped it up and started reading it right away- being exhausted by my usual synapticly intensive reads. The narration was perfect which helped with an immediate immersion into the story. I thought it was well written, balanced and conveyed the atmosphere of this region and its people/culture very well. The story is a very emotional ride and I clung to the story right till the end.

    While It's a great story that ( I think) can be shared by the whole family- It's not the least bit sucky or saccharine. While naming the book the elephant whisperer makes most everyone roll their eyes and plead for the "whispering" to end, it is fitting, and I can understand why this title won in the end, despite what damage this title may do to sales. Don't be put off though- it is a great story and a worthy read. No doubt it will be coming to a theater near you at some time in the not too distant future.

    This may deserve 4 stars but I've learnt to be harder on my rating. For me- 4 stars is a really great book and 5 stars is for a totally outstanding-life changing,"cant stop talking about it" book. 3 stars is-a worthy read, and it is!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Portland, OR, United States 08-13-13
    Casey Portland, OR, United States 08-13-13 Member Since 2015
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    "The Most Amazing Story"
    What made the experience of listening to The Elephant Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    The story was amazing! I am so in love with Thula Thula and how Lawrence has built such an amazing game reserve. The image of this big burly man who runs a game reserve, developing such a tender relationship with a herd of elephants.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Elephant Whisperer?

    Wow, there were so many. I think my favorite moment was when the herd made their way to the lodge and splashed in the pool and almost came all the way into the house to see Lawrence. So sweet!


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He made it all seem like a mystery, like anything could happen next. At first I didn't like it, but in the end it was such a delightful book I didn't mind.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When baby Thula passed and they decided to give her body back to the herd.


    Any additional comments?

    Probably one of my most favorite stories of all time! I now must visit Thula Thula in real life!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alice Atlanta, GA, United States 04-03-14
    Alice Atlanta, GA, United States 04-03-14 Member Since 2012

    Alice Roberta Matthews (Keith)

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    "Elephant will become your favorite animal"
    If you could sum up The Elephant Whisperer in three words, what would they be?

    Elephants South Africa conservation


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning about the behavior of elephants in their real life not the circus


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and I continue to listen to it over and over


    Any additional comments?

    I want to know more

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis United States 01-15-14
    Phyllis United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Elephants? Who knew the depths of these animals?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Elephant Whisperer the most enjoyable?

    We have a wonderful herd of elephants at our local zoological park. Knowing the family ties, it still doesn't even come close to the descriptions given in this story. I felt like I was on the reserve and I knew these magnificent creatures.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The authentic nature of the story telling made me feel as if I were on the reserve watching this herd. The animals had personalities, intelligence and most importantly, felt as if they had souls.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Simon Vance is the bomb of story telling. All of his characters are memorable and I listen to as many of his recordings as I can.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The tragic turn toward the end of the story with a 'lone' elephant was particularly moving. I felt the author's pain during, and most especially later in the story when he discovers the reason behind the behavior of the elephant in question. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.)


    Any additional comments?

    I am a very active reader/listener; consuming 50-60 books a year. This book has moved to number three on my all time best books list. I have already downloaded his later story on rhinos. I can't wait to listen.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy 03-28-15
    Sandy 03-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Fabulous content great narration!"

    What a heartwarming story. I laughed, I cried, I would very much enjoy meeting these people! Read on to have a unique understanding of what a part of Africa is like - life in the bush: beautiful, raw, compelling, wild and dear to one's heart!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Starr McCamant 03-24-15 Member Since 2013
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    "informative, touching, inspiring"

    The shocking truths, reality of the enormous dedication and commitment of people invested in preserving endangered animals in Africa. excellent

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luv2Sew 03-22-15
    Luv2Sew 03-22-15
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    "great read/listen!"

    Fabulous story with excellent narration. It will keep you wanting to listen. The characters are well defined but what keeps you glued to story is the details about elephants. Amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helga Braboy 03-16-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Wonderful, magical Africa"

    I loved every second of this marvelous book! I envy the author his incredible, heartwarming experiences, especially with the elephants.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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