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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 (1168 )
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  •  
    Tango Texas 01-12-13
    Tango Texas 01-12-13 Member Since 2012

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful story, beautifully written"

    It is a given that if you love animals or have interest in conservationism, you will enjoy this book, but I honestly doubt there are many people that would not really be delighted with this true story of a man who makes a special connection with a herd of elephants in order to save their lives. Lawrence Anthony calls up vivid images of his preserve, Thula Thula, to the point that you feel that you have been there and the combination of his efforts to save the wild animals, the adventures and misadventures of his three canine companions, and the strange political climate he must maneuver through make this narrative as action packed and fast paced as any adventure novel. The real life characters, both animal and human, that populate this book are all unique and interesting and I ached to know the rest of their stories when the book ended. Anthony works hard to try to understand the underlying motivations of the humans and the animals he works with and has some surprising insights into elephants, dogs, rhinos, snakes, plants, and people scattered throughout the narrative. This would be a fascinating tale coming from anyone, but the book is so well written with imagery that effortlessly calls up the characters and the settings in your mind and made me want to want to listen without pause.

    In addition, Simon Vance gives a truly masterful performance. His voice is quite pleasant anyway, but he really takes "ownership" of this book and I felt like I was listening to the author himself tell me of his personal adventure.

    I don't give many 5 stars, but I have no reservations with this book - it's first rate all the way. I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 10. (There are some scenes in the book that would be a bit traumatic for young children, but older children will love the book as much as adults.)

    One Note to Animal Lovers: As an animal lover myself, I am always attracted to books about the animal kingdom and also always hesitant to read them because I hate to read about any mistreatment of animals. This book does have its difficult moments, but the overarching feel of this story is so very positive and has so many interesting insights about the natural world that I think you will find it is worth reading and will leave you inspired and not depressed.

    Discovering Lawrence Anthony within months of his death (March 2012) makes me hope that Audible will make his other books available at some point in the near future.

    54 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-01-13
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-01-13 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

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    "Phenomenal True Story"

    I don't want to list all the superlatives that come to mind right now after just finishing this book. If you are interested in nature and wildlife, it is a must read. I don't know how you could listen to this book and not come away feeling deeply affected and changed. I don't know how you could listen to this book and not want to visit Thula Thula.

    Other reviews have already described the story. I just want to say that you need to download this book and set aside 11 hours as soon as possible, for you will be wanting to do little else than listen to it.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-15-13
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-15-13 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

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    "Incredible story! A great listen!"

    As a conservationist tries to settle a family of "rogue" elephants onto his game reserve, he learns valuable lessons about family, loyalty, and friendship.

    I really enjoyed this audiobook. The story really was an inspiring journey touching on many emotional levels. Smiles, tears, anger, disbelief and wonder all rolled into a story that kept me engaged throughout. I even had to find the Thula Thula reserve online because I found myself wanting to plan a visit here at some point.

    Simon Vance really brings this book to life. His style and voice are perfect compliments to the feelings of the story.

    I dont think you can go wrong picking up this offering.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnnie Walker Blaine, WA 01-18-13
    Johnnie Walker Blaine, WA 01-18-13 Listener Since 2003

    Black

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    "Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!"

    Just a charming story wonderfully read by Simon Vance. Don't over think it; just enjoy it.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lexie Sagle, ID, United States 04-30-14
    Lexie Sagle, ID, United States 04-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A step away from anthropocentrism"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The story is captivating, suspenseful, and a world away from America. The narration is outstanding. I fell in love with the people and the animals and their collective wisdom, intelligence and ability to communicate.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It honors non-human life.


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

    No.


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

    At the beginning, my heart broke for the tragic loss of the original matriarch of the herd. There were many other equally moving moments throughout the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Charleston, SC, United States 03-11-13
    Deborah Charleston, SC, United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    "#1 on my list for this year"

    Listening to this book transported me from my car to the African bush. Simon Vance was so authentic in his reading that I felt as though I were listening to the author. The interactions with the elephants were beautiful and, at times, frightening. The love that Lawrence Anthony had for these and all creatures was apparent as he often risked his life for theirs. Thula Thula is a place that I would love to visit.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 01-19-13
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 01-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Non-stop action excitement"

    When I was a young boy my dad would read safari books to me. I assume for that reason I love most anything about animals in Africa. In my slightly biased opinion this book will not disappoint you. Once the book gets rolling which doesn't take long you will not want to do anything except hear more.

    The narration is fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I bought the printed book for a friend who likes true adventure stories. He will love it but unfortunately he won't get to hear the narration.

    The story evokes every emotion with fear being prominent. I kept trying to imagine what it would be like to face down a huge African elephant or even a spitting cobra. How would my senses change when having to be aware of every movement in the environment? Could I ever completely relax?

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 05-11-14
    Elizabeth 05-11-14 Member Since 2004
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    "outstanding"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    From the opening of this book, you could understand that you were going to have your assumptions about the natural world fundamentally changed. I am so thankful to Mr. Anthony for sharing and Simon Vance for his excellent delivery.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Descriptions of elephant community life


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

    He tells the story with conviction.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I couldn't stop listening. It held me from start to finish.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-17-13
    Amazon Customer Utah 06-17-13 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "Love the elephants"

    Such an insight into one of the most intelligent animals in the world. I loved learning about this misfit herd, and what Lawrence Anthony was able to do to save them. Just amazing.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Weaver Costa Mesa, Ca 03-11-13
    Bill Weaver Costa Mesa, Ca 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Can't say enough good things about this book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Awesome book. I liked it so much I will buy his other books to see what they are like. I am also considering traveling to Thula Thula to visit the preserve after reading the history. This has also really raised my interest in elephants. Looks like I will have to take a trip to the zoo soon just to see the elephants. I cant say enough good things about the book. I have listened to about 25 audio books over the last year and this might be my favorite.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nana


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    This is the third book that I have listened to that Simon Vance narrated. This is by far my favorite one.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I listened to this in my car and sometimes the story was so funny I laughed out loud. I am sure other people watching and wondered what was so funny. Other times is was so sad it was all I could do to prevent tears from streaming down my face.


    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
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