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Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Cynthia Moss has studied the elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park for over twenty-seven years. Her long-term research has revealed much of what we now know about these complex and intelligent animals. Here she chronicles the lives of the members of the T families led by matriarchs Teresia, Slit Ear, Torn Ear, Tania, and Tuskless. With a new afterword catching up on ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published July 15th 2000 by University Of Chicago Press
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Maureen Moriarty
Been to Africa three times and once stayed in an "elle camp" outside of Victoria Falls where I once bathed an elephant which was truly a life highlight. What amazed me about the experience was how the elephant was communicating with me through his eyes and trunk. LOVE elephants and Moss helped me understand them,they have amazing emotional souls. How anyone can kill one is beyond me.
I felt like I was in the Land Rover with Cynthia Moss as she described in great detail the behaviors of elephants. In her thirteen years observing elephant behavior, Cynthia watched the younger and older elephants sparring, rolling and bathing in mud. She learned that elephants are quite tactile, touching and leaning against each other. Their greeting ceremonies are elaborate. The grumble, lift and spread and flap their ears, trumpet, scream, spin, urinate and defecate. Greetings among elephants ...more
Jul 06, 2007 Ian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in animals or animal beahvior
Well, I learned a lot about elephants from this book. It's written by Cynthia Moss, who spent 13 years living alongside several families of wild african elephants. I was drawn to it because elephants are very intelligent creatures with complex social lives, but are unlike primates in some ways. When I read about chimpanzee behavior it never seems like there's much difference between them and us, other than the amount of time we spend rationalizing what we do.

I enjoyed this book a lot, it was in
Cynthia Moss tells us about 13 years living among and studying the elephants in Amboseli National Park in Kenya in the 1970s and 1980s. (After I finished reading this book I looked her up on the Internet and she's still there, still on the job.) A lot of interesting stuff about elephants and their habits, their society, and their life cycle. The book sometimes seems like it's about to get rather dry, but it never quite does. I found myself enjoying the book more and more as I get deeper into it. ...more
Cynthia Moss uses her years of observation and data on the Amboseli elephants, especially one particular family, to describe elephant behavior such a migration, mating, birth, and social interaction. There is an incredible amount of information packed into this book, including whole lineages of elephant families spanning decades. I suppose it could get tedious for some, but I think it was beautifully done. Cynthia Moss comes across as an almost ideal wildlife researcher; she's capable of objecti ...more
Moss is a researcher who, as of this date, has spent over thirty years studying elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. Her observations revealed insights into African elephant behaviour that was previously unknown and, as a result, brought elephant research into the modern age. This book follows one of several extended elephant families over the course of thirteen years, and relays all the happiness, sadness, and more that comes with living in the bush. I learned a bit about elephants from ...more
Tried to read this and got 1/3 of the way through, thinking it was a fictional novel, since it said it was "like the story of Babar". Rather, it was a scientific research summary, which was pretty dry reading. So my rating is not really fair, except that the cover blurb was misleading. I am sure that for a research study, this was probably great stuff.
I read this in 1990 when I decided elephants were the bomb, and just reread it after seeing a PBS special on elephants and remembering that they were the bomb. This book is cool not as a brilliant piece of writing, but because it gives some insight into elephant life and into being a researcher. Cynthia Moss admits of her attachment to the elephants and reads motives into their behavior--I like that she's honest about it and doesn't pretend to be emotionless in her data-gathering activities. I'd ...more
This book is about the Amboseli, Kenya's Elephant population for 13 years. Births and deaths, joy and sorrow.

Honestly I love this book, the more I reread it the more I feel connected to these elephants. I've always loved them and you can tell that Cynthia Moss cares about these elephants, to her they are living breathing creatures not just research subjects. Also if you want to continue to stay up to date on the elephants checkout their site:
Moss is first and foremost a field researcher with hundreds of hours of first hand observation of wild elephants. The trouble with a lot of expert accounts of animal behaviour is that they almost have too much knowledge. Moss strikes a very fine balance between communicating scientifically relevant information and entertaining the reader. It is both good science and good writing.
Jan 03, 2015 Claire rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
A most excellent book that tells the story of elephant life in Kenya's Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Moss is the head of the long term study called "The Elephant Project". It is amazing that her name isn't common knowledge like Jane Goodall. A wonderful, enlightening book told in a way that presents the case for the Africian elephant in the best of ways.
The author researched and studied elephants in Amboseli National Park which is located in Kenya. At first I thought I would never keep the elephants' names and families straight. As the book went on I got a little better with names and identifying features. I learned more about the elephants, their lifestyle, and plight. Worth the time for the read!
Recommended by a volunteer at the zoo!! She said it reads like a soap opera. NOT a soap opera. More like a textbook with some really interesting stories. This is a great book if you are looking for something fairly scientific. The author did 14 years of studies on these elephants! A bit too tedious for me after a while. Interesting though.
Dec 15, 2014 Kathy added it
I loved this book. Even though it was written many years ago it is still relavant in that elephants are still being killed for their ivory tusks. They are wonderful, caring, intelligent animals and may be extinct in our lifetime.
Siobhan O'Laoghaire-Sannes
I hover between 2 and 3 stars for this book. I really wanted to read this book since I was familiar with her and her work. But frankly this book was dry dry dry and I abandoned it halfway through.
(Read this a few years back)

It's a surprisingly well-written and touching documentary. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about elephants, but enjoy doing so.

Very interesting and readable. The social structure of elephants is fascinating!
13 years in the life of an elephant population. I felt like they were friends.
Cynthia Moss is one of my heroes!
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