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An African Love Story: Life, Love and Elephants

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,004 ratings  ·  354 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, 400 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published January 1st 2011)
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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...
Oct 15, 2015 Jean rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Ariel (mot_avant)
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
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
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
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 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.
Mark Tilbury
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)
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
Sandy Seppala
Mar 14, 2014 Sandy Seppala rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Melissa Villasenor
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
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).
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
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
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
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
Birgitte Bach
Lydbogen jeg har lyttet til er læst af Virginia McKenna og det er som at høre en bedstemor eller oldemor fortælle om sin barndom i den smukkeste britiske accent. Men at høre Daphne Sheldricks livs historie er, som at få læst et fantastisk eventyr højt. Bogen er læst meget indlevende, bevægende og stemningsmættet og man kan flere steder høre oplæseren selv bliver bevæget over historien. Den blev lidt langtrukken til sidst, 14 timer 46 minutter er langtid at holde fokus og der var rigtig mange ele ...more
I'm a sucker for books about animals, and exotic places with a lifestyle that is far from what I know. I enjoyed the book and was amazed at the courage and persistance of the people in the book. However, I found myself tiring of reading it and began to skim over pages towards the end. A bit less detail would have suited me better, especailly as related to the politics of a country that went from a part of the British Empire to a self-governing entity. While I do not deny that this probably does ...more
Meg Adams
A moving story of the indomitable woman behind the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Dame Daphne and her husband were a pair that loved Africa and its wildlife and shared that love with countless orphans and locals. A beautiful and moving story of Dame Daphne's work with animals from a young age that eventually helped her developed a life saving formula for elephant calves and many other animals. Dame Daphne is at the forefront of elephant and Africa conservation, and anyone with a love for animal ...more
Donna Whitesel
Having just been to Kenya, this book was especially poignant to me. The magnificence of Kenya's wildlife and the failure of the government to protect it kind of reminds me of the same problem with our whole earth. But Kenya now sees that safari tourism is their biggest resource. It was heartbreaking to read about the culling and poaching of elephants and rhinos. They are amazing animals. Daphne and her husband did all they could to protect them from ivory and rhino horn poachers, and her elephan ...more
A very well written book. Dame Daphne Sheldrick writes with passion and admiration not only for her beloved husband David, but the many wild African animals they raised, loved, and sought to protect from poachers. David and Daphne developed Tsavo National Park East and Tsavo National Park West in Kenya, Africa. Much of what is known about elephants and understanding the delicate balance between nature and animals was observed and written about by the Sheldricks. Definitely worth reading before g ...more
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
Robin Taylor

This is a lovely book for anyone who loves animals or Africa. It begins with the story of a white family who was invited to "colonize" Kenya by the British government, written by the granddaughter who grows up in Kenya and has known no other home. Daphne Sheldrick paints a beautiful picture of the land she grew to love, and her special relationship with the animals she grew to love, respect and understand. She writes sparingly of the conflict between the native tribes and the white settlers, and

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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” 3 likes
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.’ – Theodore Roosevelt” 0 likes
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