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Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
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Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  2,801 Ratings  ·  440 Reviews
Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya’s rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other bab ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jul 25, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing
Daphne Sheldrick's passion 'and' compassion for LOVE....LIFE....and ELEPHANTS is energizing. In this memoir, Daphne' teaches us about love. She teaches us about life. And she certainly teaches us about elephants. She's kinda an expert! Ah...
If you think... I'm saying she is kinda an expert on elephants... ( Yes.. Highly trained and skilled
as she raised orphaned elephants and reintegrated them into the wild), but
Daphne is also 'kinda' an expert on love and life as well.

In the area of love...
Jul 30, 2015 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jean by: Chrissie
For over 25 years, Daphne and David Sheldrick worked together to nurture orphans of various different wild species, and release them back into the wild. Concentrating on elephants and rhinos, they also rescued buffaloes, zebra, eland, kudu, impala, warthogs and many other smaller animals. After David’s death Daphne famously founded the Tsavo National Park, now a huge area spreading over 8,000 square miles. Species are protected by law here, and the work to rescue individuals and species and figh ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Candi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, animals
This was a truly delightful and enlightening book about the plight of the elephants, the dedication of Daphne and David Sheldrick to the wildlife of Africa, and the landscape of Kenya. I found it to be very inspirational - living out your dream and being able to actually devote and immerse yourself in work that you find truly rewarding – how wonderful is that?!. More than just a memoir of Dame Daphne's life in Africa, Love, Life, and Elephants is also a lovely tribute to the memory of Daphne's s ...more
Martin Rowe
Jun 09, 2012 Martin Rowe rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I have visited and given money to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and so should you. Daphne Sheldrick has made a major contribution to wildlife conservation and her work is to be applauded. Her memoir is a somewhat conventional "Out of Africa" story: hardy pioneers, gauzy sunsets, magnificent vistas, and lots of lots of stories about the animals who have come her way. She was obviously deeply in love with David, and yet he strangely remains a somewhat remote character. He is defi ...more
I have assorted thoughts on this book. First of all the language is detached, polite, oh so proper British English, quite different from how Americans express themselves. The "Britishness" is reflected not only in word pronunciation but also in the choice of words, the views presented and the life style of the family, of clear colonial stock. I am listening to the audiobook and the narration by Virginia McKenna emphasizes this. It kind of bugs me a bit. Maybe the "Britishness" of the narration p ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Ariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I think the world would be a poorer place if it lacked Dame Daphne, David Sheldrick, and those that have worked with and been inspired by them. I believe the Sheldricks, via Daphne's writing as well as in their actions for wildlife welfare, have provided ample proof of the richness of life that comes with finding one's passion and committing entirely to it; that a life of such passion for a just cause is filled with ripples that flow out from a central inspiration and have far-reaching effects. ...more
I just adored this book. It is an autobiography telling the story of an African-born British woman--how her family came to Kenya, describing how it was growing up there, meeting her first love, then later falling deeply in love with her soulmate. It is also the story of how Sheldrick, as the wife of a game warden, began to raise orphan wildlife to give them a second chance at life. She worked with many elephant calves and became an expert on how to raise them, given their surprisingly delicate n ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Karlin rated it liked it
I am continuing to read this book only because Of its window into Kenya of the 50s and because I love books about nature- however- I am praying this woman comes to her senses in some of her views on big game hunting and colonialism. To wit: despite the fact that her British family decided to take up Kenya's offer of land and move into masai tribal lands she is astounded at the Mau Mau anti colonial guerilla war- different tribes but you get the point. She sees her family as benign colonists. Als ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Kali rated it it was ok
I'm going to be real, I gave up on this book after dragging myself through 11 hours of the 14 hour long audiobook. My breaking point came when - shocker! - the millionth animal under Daphne's care dies. I love animals, and I want to love people's heart-warming stories of living with animals. I like the idea of these stories. I like my own life, lived with two cats. I worked at the Humane Society and fell under the spell of fluffy unfortunates on the daily. But here's the deal, I can't get throug ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-ish
The Boston Globe warns readers they might be tempted after the last page to sell their possessions and join the author's cause.

They are right.

This book packs a wallop. It is the story of a woman born and raised in Africa. Who eventually finds herself madly and deeply in love with a man who shares her passions. Together, they rally to create sanctuaries for a once abundant and replete wildlife. All of it against the backdrop of a heartbreaking and incredible fight for the preservation and protect
This was a combination biography/memoir, as Dame Daphne starts by describing her family's settlement in Kenya and her years growing up and falling in love with nature and animals. Her love of the physical landscape and Kenya's flora and fauna shine throughout the book, and of course the strongest parts are where she discusses her work with orphaned elephants, dikdiks, civets, Cape buffalos, zebras, and all manner of other creatures. The animal stories are funny and touching. The details of poach ...more
Fahmida Altaf
Feb 08, 2017 Fahmida Altaf is currently reading it
I love watching human nursed wild baby animals & ocean life documentaries on youtube. Just this morning youtube suggested me to watch the short documentary "Faces of Africa - Walking with Elephants", there I heard the name of David Sheldric Wildlife Trust in Kenya for the first time, also about Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldric for the first time. She wrote an autobiography, I learned that at afternoon. Those storytelling short video clips about the trust and orphaned baby elephants are too heartwarm ...more
This one is painful to read. I can only imagine how painful it would be to live it. Very graphic descriptions of elephants and other Africa animals being killed for ivory, testicles, gall bladders and other black trade animal products. Dame Daphne and her family take in the orphans and try to raise them to adulthood so they can be returned to the wild. We get her personal story and the story of the animals.
This is an inspirational book for anyone interested in rescuing animals. It's also an interesting (if not a bit scattered) history of the decimation of the animal population in Kenya and other parts of Africa. There are some emotional parts that could have been much more emotional if Sheldrick had not kept such a "distanced" tone to her narrative. Not detached, just "distanced," which is understandable considering all the emotional pain she has experienced throughout the years.
I've read other r
Sandy Seppala
Mar 14, 2014 Sandy Seppala rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sandy by: Read review in NYTimes and People
Since I served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and visited the Sheldrick Orphan Project when I visited Kenya in 1991, I was most interested to read this book. I was not disappointed. I thought the book was excellent and that would be of interest to anyone.

The book is a memoir recounting Dame Daphne's life in Kenya, her marriage to David Sheldrick and how that changed her life, and, most importantly, her love of and commitment to the wildlife of Kenya. She became the first person to be able to raise
Dec 06, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
As a contemporary of Shedrick(just two years apart) also working on a family history, it is interesting to see how she managed her writing. Daphne did exactly what she set out to do- tell the story of her loves, life and elephants as she lived it. She divorced in a time before it was normal and remained friends with her ex-husband. She took hardship that included hours of no sleep to care for animals, and months of living "camp style" as an opportunity to love her husband, the animals she came a ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the animals and I felt touched by this account of Daphne Sheldrick’s remarkable life and her accomplishments. Her love of Africa, her family, and the animals were fascinating and engaging. Despite the title, it wasn’t just elephants. For being a memoir/autobiography, it was very well written. I’m grateful for that.

The first part was about the author growing up and her family structure. The story covered why they traveled to Africa to live. This part felt a li
Mark Tilbury
Nov 11, 2015 Mark Tilbury rated it it was amazing
Daphne and David Sheldrick devoted themselves to the care of wild elephants in Kenya for over 25 years. This book tells of how Daphne and David met, how Daphne become immersed in David's work, and how after David's death, Daphne continues to work to save the lives of wild elephants.

This book took me to Africa. The descriptions of the surroundings, animals and their behaviours made me feel like I was there watching everything as it happened.

The battles against the ivory trade were (and still are)
Melissa Villasenor
Aug 29, 2012 Melissa Villasenor rated it did not like it
okay this story could have been remarkable, but man is she boring! she really needs some jokes written in here! she reflects on everything so dramatically. i thought give me a break. I kept falling asleep while reading because she kept using big words to show how smart she is. Oh and she kept on naming all of these different tribe names. Kiwahaka, Mioto, Poo-Poo... How am I supposed to remember every single tribe as I read the chapters? There are way too many. Every single page that I read, I ro ...more
Claire Meirowitz
This is the best preservation-of-nature book I've read since "Gorillas in the Mist" many years ago. In fact, I was so emotionally involved in Daphne Sheldrick's wonderful prose that I read portions of this book out loud to my husband. I heartily recommend it to anyone who cares about animals and worries about what happens to them. The author's anecdotes about rearing orphaned elephants, antelope, rhinos and more are both heartwarming and, often, heartbreaking. Please join me in loving and apprec ...more
Great read. Moves along rapidly, gives the reader a broad view of the history of Kenya while displaying the very personal story of Daphne Sheldrick. Her efforts to save the African animals from extinction - rhinos, elephants and her very personal relationships and understanding of them make this a passionate tale which is almost impossible to put down.
Bonnie Brody
Nov 07, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it liked it
Dame Daphne Sheldrick writes with a sure hand about her pioneering ancestors and family who farm in Kenya. Dame Daphne is instrumental in the environmental movement there and writes about her love of animals, her part in opening the Tsavo Park, and the memories she has of her life and loves in Africa.
Feb 26, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
When the focus is on animals, this book is really interesting and enjoyable. Her personal life and the business side of the refuges are not nearly as engrossing. Her take on colonialism and natives/settlers is a little disconcerting (the grand tradition of pioneers and the pesky Africans who think independence is actually a good idea ... hmmm).
Oct 27, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
There is a warning on the front of the book that this book is beautiful and heart-breaking, and that is the truth. Daphne sheldrick’s family moved to Kenya at the turn of the century and were true pioneers moving in to wild untamed countryside and battling against all odds to try and make a life and a living. The book deals with her growing up in Kenya, the collapse of her first marriage and her meeting with the man who became her soul mate, David Sheldrick. This is a love story on 2 levels firs ...more
Dec 04, 2014 DubaiReader rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, 2014
A woman with a profound love for animals.

In rating this book I have tried to remove the negative effect of the awful narration of my audiobook. 14hrs 45mins of Virginia McKenna's incorrect emphases and overly sickly reading was a test of endurance, but the true characters were the animals and they were impossible not to love.

Daphne Sheldrick has spent her whole life in Kenya, raised to love and respect the wildlife around her. She came from an era where hunting was the norm, but gradually it bec
Nov 05, 2012 Gina rated it liked it
I didn't actually quite finish this book, so clearly I didn't love it. It was a window into a completely different kind of life, motivated by a completely different worldview. I am not an animal person. At all. My kids have never even had a goldfish for a pet, much less a dog. Much less a baby rhinoceros or elephant. And I can assure you I would never, ever have a baby duiker run around the savannah all day then sleep in my bed at night. Or have a wild bird fly around my house, even if it was sm ...more
Dec 23, 2016 Cynda rated it really liked it
With the aid of this book, I have traveled to Kenya and to South Africa. As an American, I hear of the horrors of Apartheid. I have no doubt that Apartheid officially happened and likely still unofficially happens. I just did not see any horrorific treatment here in Sheldrick's experience. I did see mutual respect. I see that a small group of Kenyan workers wanted to work for Dame Daphne Sheldrick's father, at his farm located within the Great Rift and later at the place where Great Britain sent ...more
Jan 24, 2017 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is utterly fascinating in its ability to fill one's heart with pain for the elephants and other wild orphans while still leaving you feeling hope for any animal lucky enough to be in Dame Daphne's care. I truly appreciated her honesty in admitting her steep learning curve in rearing baby elephants by hand.

I am very glad this book exists, not just because I love the work done by the DSWT, but because Dame Daphne offers an interesting perspective on what it meant to live in Kenya durin
Jul 12, 2012 Florence rated it really liked it
Daphne Sheldrick spent her whole life in Africa, yet she still considers herself to be English. It's a mystery but she paints a vivid picture of her life in Kenya. Her husband was the administrator for a huge national park in Eastern Kenya. To their credit, they vehemently tried to protect the lives of wild animals under their care. The value of ivory and rhino horns in Asia attracted poachers which slaughtered animals mercilessly. Herds were reduced and in some cases entirely vanquished. After ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Allison rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-finished
Another book that got really high ratings and sounded fascinating.

I had to return it to the library when I was only halfway finished, so that might be why I can't give it higher marks.

It was interesting to read about her life in Africa when there were still large portions of Africa that weren't settled. Actually, the beginning was really interesting - people leaving everything and everyone they knew to settle somewhere remote. And the trials that ensued. But then it became a story of her great l
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Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author, conservationist, and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild. From 1955 to 1976, Sheldrick was co-warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

Sheldrick has been named as one of the 35 most significant conservationists ever. She has won the BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has an Honorary Doc
More about Daphne Sheldrick...

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“Life is for the living, not the dead, who belong to the past and are at peace and beyond all further pain and suffering 'somewhere in the great somewhere” 9 likes
“The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.’ – Mahatma Gandhi” 3 likes
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