Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

By Vicki Croke

NEW YORK instances BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES impressive BOOK

The striking tale of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s biggest land animals reworked 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 carrier in global struggle 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 nice animals who hauled logs throughout the distant jungles, he turned a talented “elephant wallah.” more and more expert at treating their health problems and accidents, he additionally championed extra humane therapy 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 remarkable 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 can be a story of battle and bold. whilst Imperial eastern forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled tips division, working at the back of enemy strains. His warfare elephants could hold offers, construct bridges, and shipping the ill and aged over treacherous mountain terrain. Now good versed within the methods of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even extra to his solid by means of smuggling extra elephants out of Japanese-held territory. because the occupying specialists placed a cost on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his so much perilous try out. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered by means of the enemy, tried a determined get away: a dicy trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled staff of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits may earn him most sensible 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 set 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 below a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The long island instances e-book Review

“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and flora and fauna biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s tale is a frequently relocating account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his strange bond with the most important land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Some of the most important heroes of worldwide conflict II have been even greater than you concept. . . . you'll 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 rare personality, a real-life opposite Tarzan raised in civilization who reveals knowledge and his actual self residing between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke gives you a thrilling story of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, whereas superbly reminding us of the iconic bonds among animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, writer of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time

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It’s anything elephant moms do. Later, while the calf became 5, the conventional age for naming on the grounds that their actual character could have emerged by means of then, the boys christened her Ma Yay Yee. leave out giggling Water. Williams could come to work out that the heroic love among moms and infants was once reciprocal. frequently it was once expressed in small gestures—a tiny child threatening a person who approached his mom, for instance—but there has been one case that shocked Williams and could stick with him. One November, a brand new type in class used to be convened, and all moms with five-year-old calves have been summoned for the hot educational 12 months. between them used to be a feminine in her midthirties named Mahoo Nee, or hearth Opal, whose outstanding eyes “were of a wealthy darkish brown illuminated through a flickering gentle, like flames. ” Mahoo Nee was once major her male calf over the numerous miles from her camp to the college grounds. alongside the best way, her uzi have been using atop her as they waded via a few dense plants. To make it more uncomplicated for her and the infant, the uzi could succeed in down in entrance of Mahoo Nee’s head as they walked, slashing at many of the branches together with his knife. yet in doing so, he inadvertently minimize a kind of vine that after damaged open can burn and blister the surface. after they arrived in camp Williams walked over to greet them and investigate the recent little pupil. yet as he drew shut, taking a look up into the mild face of his outdated good friend Mahoo Nee, he used to be horrified. a few pores and skin used to be burned, and her eyes have been lined with an opaque movie. He spoke with the uzi approximately what had occurred. Her eyes should have touched the vines, the rider acknowledged. With a becoming experience of alarm, Williams tested her. He desired to discover if there has been a few imaginative and prescient ultimate, any skill to tell apart gentle and darkish or circulation. “When I waved my arms to inside of 1 / 4 of an inch of her lengthy lashes, there has been no flicker of an eyelid,” he acknowledged. She used to be thoroughly blind. The elephant medical institution was once close by, yet there has been no salve to regard the wear and tear, no wish that her sight will be restored. at the very least she will be secure with him, Williams idea. there has been lots of forage accumulated for her, and he or she should be bathed within the cool move within reach. The mild elephant deserved a bit pampering. whilst the mummy and calf have been led away Williams spotted whatever impressive. “I observed the calf again his hindquarters in the direction of his mother’s head,” Williams wrote. “When she felt him, she raised her trunk and rested it at the calf’s again; and during this method they moved in regards to the clearing. It used to be like a bit boy protecting his blind mother’s hand and steerage her down the road. ” commonly, Williams had came upon calves at this age to be unruly. in a position to feed themselves, they start to get lost all alone and exert a few independence. after they are within reach, they have a tendency to be nuisances to their moms. He used to be shocked to determine a feeling of accountability and adulthood within the calf, he wrote, “until I remembered that human family members relationships can regulate greatly, if both dad or mum or baby is injured.

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