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Elephant Company: the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The remarkable story of James Howard "Billy" Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world's largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill   Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a "forest man" for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted "elephant wallah." Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant "school" and "hospital." In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory. In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams's growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude.   But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges, and transport the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. Now well versed in the ways of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even added to his stable by smuggling more elephants out of Japanese-held territory. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced his most perilous test. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill's exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim.   Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventure, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism. Praise for Elephant Company   "I have to confess--my love of elephants made me apprehensive to review a book about their role in World War II. But as soon as I began to read Elephant Company, I realized that not only was my heart safe, but that this book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . [Vicki] Croke is a natural storyteller. . . . Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written." --Sara Gruen, The New York Times Book Review " Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant-whisperer-cum-war-hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans." --Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time   "The true-life heroics of Elephant Company during World War II  highlight how animals and humans together can achieve extraordinary things. Croke's evocative writing and deep understanding of the animal-human bond bring vividly to life Elephant Bill's great passion and almost mystical connection with his magnificent beasts. This is a wonderful read." --Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion
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ISBN:
9781400069330
9780679603993
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID d40d9b4c-3277-2244-fc91-15b86aa095ef
Full title elephant company the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives i
Author croke vicki
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-22 22:53:33PM
Last Indexed 2018-05-22 23:47:21PM

Solr Details

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author Croke, Vicki.
author_display Croke, Vicki
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collection_catalog Non-Fiction
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display_description "At the onset of World War II, [Billy] Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own 'Hannibal Trek,' [becoming] a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them"--
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primary_isbn 9781400069330
publishDate 2014
record_details ils:CARL0000445526|Book|Books|First edition.|English|Random House,|[2014]|xiv, 343 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm., overdrive:9c50c116-4abb-45c1-b189-94bd4af1bc7e|eBook|eBook||English|Random House Publishing Group|2014|
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subject_facet Animals -- War use -- History -- 20th century, Animals in logging -- Burma -- History -- 20th century, Asiatic elephant -- Burma -- History -- 20th century, Bandoola (Elephant), Burma -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945, Elephant Company (Great Britain), Williams, J. H. -- (James Howard), -- 1897-1958, Working elephants -- Burma -- History -- 20th century, World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Burma
title_display Elephant Company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II
title_full Elephant Company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II / Vicki Constantine Croke, Elephant Company The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
title_short Elephant Company :
title_sub the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II
topic_facet Animals, Animals in logging, Asiatic elephant, Bandoola (Elephant), Biography & Autobiography, Campaigns, History, Military, Nonfiction, War use, Williams, J. H, Working elephants, World War, 1939-1945