By Vicki Croke
NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES amazing BOOK
The amazing tale of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s biggest land animals remodeled him from a carefree younger guy into the charismatic struggle hero often called Elephant Bill
Billy Williams got here to colonial Burma in 1920, clean from provider in global battle I, to a task as a “forest guy” for a British teak corporation. Mesmerized by means of the intelligence, personality, or even humor of the good animals who hauled logs throughout the distant jungles, he turned a proficient “elephant wallah.” more and more expert at treating their health problems and accidents, he additionally championed extra humane therapy for them, even setting up an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In go back, he acknowledged, the elephants made him a greater guy. The friendship of 1 fantastic tusker particularly, Bandoola, will be revelatory. In Elephant corporation, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s turning out to be love for elephants because the animals offer him classes in braveness, belief, and gratitude.
yet Elephant Company is additionally a story of warfare and bold. while Imperial eastern forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled tips division, working in the back of enemy strains. His battle elephants may hold provides, construct bridges, and shipping the in poor health and aged over treacherous mountain terrain. Now good versed within the methods of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even further to his reliable via smuggling extra elephants out of Japanese-held territory. because the occupying gurus positioned a value on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his so much perilous try. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered by way of the enemy, tried a determined get away: a dicy trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled crew of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits might earn him best army honors and the compliment of famed box Marshal Sir William Slim.
half biography, half warfare epic, and half natural world experience, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known bankruptcy within the annals of wartime heroism.
Praise for Elephant Company
“This e-book is ready excess of simply the warfare, or maybe elephants. this is often the tale of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is not anything lower than a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The big apple occasions e-book Review
“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and natural world biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s tale is a regularly relocating account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his strange bond with the biggest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe
“Some of the most important heroes of global struggle II have been even larger than you notion. . . . you could by no means name the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post
“Elephant Company is as strong and big-hearted because the animals of its name. Billy Williams is a unprecedented personality, a real-life opposite Tarzan raised in civilization who reveals knowledge and his actual self dwelling between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke grants an exhilarating story of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, whereas fantastically reminding us of the iconic bonds among animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, writer of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time
Read or Download Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II PDF
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Additional resources for Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
He cried out. “You nonetheless the following? ” The boss quickly gave him his orders: Williams was once to hike into the Myittha valley, a lush forested quarter among the Chindwin and a string of hills with regards to the Indian border. right here a village chief named U Tha Yauk (“U,” or uncle, is a well mannered type of tackle for a mature male) might commence his education in wooded area lifestyles. Harding may provide Williams these 4 elephants to function pack or luggage animals, often called tourists. prior to sunrise at the day he used to be to go away, Williams silently rose and peeked out on the darkened camp. The flaps to Harding’s tent have been down. The previous guy was once nonetheless asleep. Hallelujah. no less than he might embark on his first day trip with no ridicule. He conveyed to the uzis that he desired to close up quietly. They, too, have been wanting to depart with out waking Harding, and had already silenced the titties at the elephant bells by way of tying them tight. After Williams watched his final little bit of apparatus passed up and positioned within the kah, at the again of an elephant, they started out: 4 elephants, 4 uzis driving them, a cook dinner, bearers, and messengers; a good-sized entourage for a twenty-three-year-old rookie. Williams was once heading into the forests of higher Burma with enthusiasm, although such a lot of skilled outdoorsmen had misplaced their lives within the box there, together with, simply the yr sooner than, the forty-year-old famed botanist Reginald Farrer, who had died of diphtheria. For Williams, the jungle used to be already restoring a number of the ask yourself of his boyhood. He was once built for an excellent hike—wool socks, well-made boots, khaki shorts and blouse. Sunbeams burst throughout the branches of the tall timber. unique birds referred to as out. prior to him used to be the unknown. The battle, Billy had suggestion, had tired him of the type of innocence required to understand all this. He had feared he was once “past the age of adventures. ” yet now he gratefully learned he was once flawed. without delay, there has been a commotion one of the elephants. again at camp, a feminine named Me Tway used to be trumpeting, and Williams’s elephants stopped the procession to reply, cocking their ears ahead to hear. After a few back-and-forth, the main vocal and strong-willed between them, Chit Ma, broke away, rampaging again to camp together with her rider on board. Williams’s males and people again at camp needed to type it out. The elephants received: while Chit Ma again to the day trip, her buddy Me Tway got here along with her, which intended one of many different tourists needed to be back to camp. Already Williams was once seeing how robust the bonds one of the elephants have been. whilst Harding had break up the gang in , it had taken an emotional toll. Captive elephants didn't shape the mother-daughter-sister dynasties that wild ones equipped over generations. situations didn’t let it. yet they did cleave to each other simply a similar. one of the logging elephants, blood kinship wasn’t necessary—they had found out how one can maintain ties simply as enduring between themselves. frequently the uzis could witness a type of shared parenting, within which adult females bonded with each other so heavily that they reared their calves jointly.