By Vicki Croke
NEW YORK instances BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES awesome BOOK
The extraordinary 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 warfare hero referred to as Elephant Bill
Billy Williams got here to colonial Burma in 1920, clean from provider in global warfare I, to a task as a “forest guy” for a British teak corporation. Mesmerized by way of the intelligence, personality, or even humor of the nice animals who hauled logs throughout the distant jungles, he grew to become a talented “elephant wallah.” more and more expert at treating their health problems and accidents, he additionally championed extra humane remedy for them, even developing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In go back, he acknowledged, the elephants made him a greater guy. The friendship of 1 outstanding tusker specifically, Bandoola, will be revelatory. In Elephant corporation, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s becoming love for elephants because the animals offer him classes in braveness, belief, and gratitude.
yet Elephant Company is additionally a story of conflict and bold. whilst Imperial eastern forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled methods division, working at the back of enemy strains. His struggle elephants might hold offers, construct bridges, and delivery the unwell and aged over treacherous mountain terrain. Now good versed within the methods of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even further to his strong by means of smuggling extra elephants out of Japanese-held territory. because the occupying experts placed a value on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his such a lot perilous try out. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered via the enemy, tried a determined break out: a dicy trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled crew of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits could earn him most sensible army honors and the compliment of famed box Marshal Sir William Slim.
half biography, half battle 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 booklet is set way over simply the conflict, or perhaps elephants. this is often the tale of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is not anything below a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The ny instances ebook Review
“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and flora and fauna 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 worldwide conflict II have been even higher than you suggestion. . . . you'll by no means name the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post
“Elephant Company is as robust and big-hearted because the animals of its name. Billy Williams is a unprecedented personality, a real-life opposite Tarzan raised in civilization who unearths knowledge and his precise self residing between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke provides 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
Yet Williams, who observed extra in animals than so much besides, had an inkling. on the FOOT OF THE CHIN HILLS, within the a ways western shoulder of Burma, the precise territory the place Billy Williams used to be headed, a powerful tusker geared up with a braided harness and thick dragging chains started his day’s paintings towing teak logs towards a jungle creek. large and fit, the animal carried himself another way from the opposite elephants round him. there has been a majesty, if no longer but whole adulthood, to him and an ease within the corporation of either elephants and males. Twenty-three years previous, he already stood over 8 ft on the shoulder, taller than a lot of his elders. and since he might keep growing all through his lifestyles, including probably part an inch a 12 months for the subsequent two decades, it intended that he could most probably subscribe to the tallest bulls, who measured over 9 toes. He wasn’t simply immense; he used to be attractive. He had the type of tusks, angled up and outward, that the boys, likening them to the fingers of a Burmese dancing woman, referred to as Swai Gah. these tusks gave him a depraved, roguish visual appeal that used to be accentuated while he cocked his ears. within the company’s ledger ebook for him, it used to be famous that his ft have been “perfect,” with 5 nails each one within the entrance, and 4 on each one again foot. His again used to be formed like a banana bough—the best suited for logging. His dermis seemed unfastened and seriously corrugated; his ears have been positive, “heavy-haired in orifice. ” He definitely possessed a actual refinement that elephant connoisseurs trendy. Burmese culture held that “an elephant of excellent caliber has a dermis that's wrinkled just like the rind of a custard apple, and dark gray in color. ” The elephant named Bandoola unmistakably had that. The drapes of his saggy pores and skin prepared themselves within the form and shape thought of auspicious. correct below his tail, thick folds similar to a frog’s head would supply a few safeguard from the tusks of one other bull in the course of a struggle. Bandoola additionally had a dewlap below his chin, and a bag of pendulous skin—what the elephant males referred to as Pyia Swai, or honeycomb—that ran all alongside his underbelly. The lavender coloration of his dermis used to be beautiful, and splashed throughout his trunk and excessive cheekbones have been faded red freckles, as tender as a box of vegetation. but, he used to be as tricky as any wild elephant. So extraordinary a specimen used to be he that each woodland assistant—no subject the place in Burma he used to be based—would declare to have controlled him at one element in his profession. It was once stated that he did issues that no different elephant may well. He had an unlimited knowing of human language, and whereas so much elephants may possibly distinguish between many of the camp instruments, Bandoola knew all of them. while requested to decide on a hammer from goods laid out prior to him, the massive tusker may succeed in along with his trunk and pull it out. even though he looked as if it would benefit from the paintings, not anyone might name him obedient; Bandoola had a brain of his personal. yet from delivery it proved to be a smart and beneficiant one. He even appeared to have a feeling of humor. sometimes, after he hefted a wide log to the very fringe of a cliff or the financial institution of a river, he could faux he might push it no farther.