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Nonfiction Review: The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

Title: The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
Author: Lawrence Anthony 
Year published: 2009
Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)South Africa

SummaryLawrence Anthony devoted his life to animal conservation, protecting the world's endangered species. Then he 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 memoir 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, Anthony's unrelenting efforts at animal protection and his remarkable connection with nature will inspire animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.

Review: I listened to this book for my girls' book group on the suggestion of one of the women who absolutely really enjoyed it and wanted to re-read it. I am so glad she suggested it as I loved listening to this book. First off, the audio book is read by Simon Vance. Since I am new to audio books, I didn't know who he was, but boy is he excellent. He does the accents, the languages, and more so well that it was a pleasure to listen to him.

And the story. Wow. There were many times I found myself smiling, looking shocked and amazed, or in awe of the animals' behavior. And human behavior (think poachers). But mostly this is a story of grace and beauty, of how nature does its thing (killing, birthing, living) and how humans can fit into that world and make connections.

If you enjoy those TV shows about nature (Blue Planet, etc) I think you would enjoy this one. It's also culturally interesting as the author weaves in stories about the local Zulu that work and live on his reserve.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Nonfiction--wild animals
  • Nonfiction November

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