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The Elephant Whisperer

4.43  ·  Rating Details ·  7,806 Ratings  ·  1,232 Reviews
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa, his commonsense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival - notorious escape artists, they would all be killed if Lawrence wouldn't take them. He agreed, but before arrangements for the move could be co ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd (first published January 1st 2009)
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Janet I think it's a great book for a read aloud. I did just that my future veterinarian (who is 7 yrs. old). Every now and again I switched out a few…moreI think it's a great book for a read aloud. I did just that my future veterinarian (who is 7 yrs. old). Every now and again I switched out a few "hells" or other more colorful verbiage, but I didn't feel the need to do it often.

Children can get a wonderful multi-cultural perspective on life, emotions, and the world, in general, I think, from hearing his stories. I took the opportunities during the tear-jerking parts to embrace the sadness and talk about times when we have felt similarly and how those times are able to help us appreciate the happy times, even more. Or to use it as a "What would you have done or how would you have felt in this situation?"

I know it's been a year since you asked the question---did you end up reading it with your child?(less)
Marsha Milstock Yes I have read all that Lawrence Anthony co wrote.
I believe none were as compelling as the Elephant Whisperer.
But certainly worth your time if you…more
Yes I have read all that Lawrence Anthony co wrote.
I believe none were as compelling as the Elephant Whisperer.
But certainly worth your time if you are enchanted by Lawrence Anthony.
Water for Elephants by Sara GruenThe Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence AnthonyModoc by Ralph HelferLeaving Time by Jodi PicoultHannah's Dream by Diane Hammond
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2nd out of 84 books — 98 voters
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156th out of 1,047 books — 1,392 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 12, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
I'm starting to get bored with the various "whisperers." Especially since most of them don't do any actual whispering to the animals in question.

So I wish this book had a different title.

That aside, this is a fantastic book about some of nature's most beautiful and amazing animals. (I LOVE elephants!)

Lawrence Anthony runs a nature preserve in South Africa called Thula Thula. One day, he gets a call from someone offering him a herd of nine elephants for the preserve. The herd is apparently "rogue
Sep 21, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in animals, nature, true stories of incredible interactions between animals and humans and certain conservation issues that South Africa faces, this is a 10 star read. I read that the author of this book recently passed away and that the elephants he interacted with for many years instinctively traveled a very long way on foot over many, many miles to come and visit him at the place where he passed away.
Oct 25, 2012 Monty rated it it was amazing
I just had to give this book five stars, though four may fit as well. When I read that, after the author died recently, the herd of elephants he befriended traveled many miles to stand near his body, without there being any means of informing them of his death, I was inspired to read this book he published in 2009. I was hooked by the first chapter and wanted more after the last chapter. There is so much to say about how each chapter had its own adventure, some complete with puzzles, tension and ...more
Jul 25, 2016 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anthony does a magnificent job of sharing his story of settling a herd of seven wild elephants on his 5,000 acres of bush in Zululand, South Africa. I respect his decision to try to extend the reserve to include the neighboring tribal land so that a greater number of wild animals might live comfortably without interference. The elephants get the credit they deserve for being remarkably intelligent and resilient, despite extremely harsh treatment and bad memories early on. It is a source of great ...more
Wow. Animal lovers, listen up! Awesome narration by Simon Vance. This narration won the Audie Award 2014. I could listen to him forever. Utterly captivating and heartwarming animal story / memoir.

This "true" account is absolute joy, even though there are some anxious and sad times. Deeply profound. I felt so good while reading it — never wanted it to end. I cried a bit, too. The book comes with photos. Some are posted at the author's website:

(Be advised,
Jim Kristofic
Jan 21, 2010 Jim Kristofic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cried openly the day I found out Steve Irwin died. I’ve always been a naturalist at heart, and I have great respect for those who passionately strive to conserve the animals and plant life of this Earth.

After reading Laurence Anthony’s “The Elephant Whisperer,” I was glad to see a kindred spirit to Irwin, alive and daring, working in his native Africa with local Zulus, game rangers, and international conservationists to preserve the powerful – yet fragile – existence of a herd of “rogue” Afri
Una Tiers
Oct 17, 2016 Una Tiers rated it really liked it
A story, I won't spoil it. Very interesting reports on the smarts elephants have although the story leaves things out that I wanted to know about. The business of side of safaris would have been a plus.
It would have been nice to see photos of the animals.
Charlene Intriago
Beautifully written and an easy and engaging read about a herd of rogue elephants taken in by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony (the author). The elephants are the main story but there is so much more about life in the wilds of Africa to be gleaned from this book. This is the January 2015 discussion book for my book group. Very happy they chose it!
Apr 12, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers
“This is their story. They taught me that all life forms are important to each ther in our common quest for happiness and survival. That there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind.” Page 4 * Location 126 (Kindle version)

This is a story of a Game Ranger and “his” herd of Elephants. The Elephants are 'delinquent' when they are first brought to Thula Thula Game Reserve located in South Africa. Their delinquency is largely due to the atrocities that have been besto
Rudy Dalessandro
Jan 17, 2013 Rudy Dalessandro rated it it was amazing
One of those stories that's so inspiring, because its a true one, about how we are not the only intelligent life on this rock, and that if we can get a handle on our own selfish needs, we might just be able to listen better, and here when the other earthlings around us communicate with each other, and try to get through to our thick, arrogant, and often ignorant, craniums. Knowing that Lawrence Anthony passed away last year - and that the herd of elephants at his Thula Thula wildlife reserve in ...more
Lisa Hagan
Mar 15, 2012 Lisa Hagan rated it it was amazing
I had the honor and privilege of working with conservationist Lawrence Anthony and co-author Graham Spence on this incredibly moving book. It was our second book together, the previous BABYLON'S ARK: THE INCREDIBLE WAR TIME RESCUE OF THE BAGHDAD ZOO also an amazing book.

Lawence was called upon to rescue a rogue herd of elephants, which he did with very little hesitation.
It is an touching story about tough man's love and deep connection with these fascinating huge animals. You cannot put this boo
Sergio GRANDE films
Whenever I hear the word 'whisperer' I think of that pretentious gay Chicano conning housewives on TV. He who talks to dogs. This book couldn't be further from that circus.

"The Elephant Whisperer" follows the life of a hard-working conservationist in South Africa for a couple of years, during which time he establishes a preternatural relationship with a herd of wild African elephants. The story is so human, the anecdotes so touching, and the man-beast relationship so incredibly deep that I recom
Sep 20, 2015 Tania rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Such is Africa, the flawed, beautiful, magnificent, beguiling, mystical, unique, life-changing continent... it's seductive charm and charisma, its ancient wisdom so often stained bby unfathomable spasms of blood.

What an amazing life, to life your passion, and to really make an impact on the world. Elephants are my favorite animal, and this book just confirmed why that is. I was especially intrigued by the research showing how these animals can communicate across the whole continent. There are al
Don’t let the title sway you from reading this book – this is not about someone who claims to “talk to the animals”. But rather, it is an inspiring story of one man who learns the importance of life while tending to a rogue herd of elephants. Anthony owned a large wildlife reserve in Zuzuland and was asked to take on a troublesome herd of elephants or they would need to be killed. With much thought and trepidation, he agrees to take on this responsibility. We see his relationship with the herd m ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Anthony He left an amazing legacy at the Thula Thula reserve in KwaZulu, Natal, South Africa, , and his work with conservation, and wild animals. This is party recounted in this book. The author's love of the animals here is felt palpably in the pages of the book. It is a memoir that will keep you captivated. We learn of how the elephants would come out in a herd to greet Lawrence, and would actually start their procession when he was on the way back to the reserve. How when his flight ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I was prepared to love this book, given what I had read about the herd visiting the author's home after he died, even though they were three days' journey away. And it is an extraordinary story of one man's passion--even obsession--to save these magnificent beasts from certain death, since they were considered to be rogue and dangerous.

I really liked the last quarter of the book, where the storytelling became much more engaging. But the first three quarters? Well, not so much. I remarked to my
Sep 28, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perfectly wonderful, true story of a not so perfect herd of elephant's, who have been broken by poor human behavior and dramatic circumstances. I'm so glad this was not another flowers and butterfly story about wild animals, definitly not Disney. A great adventure into the lives and intelligent minds of these sensitive giants and how they have rules and expectations just like humans.

I liked this book much better than I ever expected to, substance and amazing integrity made it very easy to bec
I loved this book. The compassion by Anthony towards these elephants was amazing. I will miss reading about the herd and the people involved in their care. This book was full of compasison, love, mystery and adventure. It brings awareness of what amazing creatures elephants are and how it's so important to respect and honor them. What a lucky herd to have been given the chance to live at Thula Thula and to have an advocate on their side when no one else wanted them.
Jan 23, 2014 Stacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, africa
It was a little hard for me to get into this book. I was distracted by the two authors.

The main author, Lawrence Anthony, is a rugged bushman of South Africa, and his voice is distinctively casual and laced with slang, ie, "I went on walkabout and then hopped in the Landy to find the herd." On the other hand, the co-author, Graham Spence, is a London-based editor. I'm guessing his job was to spruce up the writing and make it a bit more... polished. So whenever the language became descriptive an
Jane Stewart
It’s wonderful. I love stories about unusual relationships, and this is one of the best.

But it needs a pdf file for pictures. Pictures are in the physical book, but the audiobook buyers lose out. There are some pictures on the website

As to the story, this is truth stranger than fiction. It’s wonderful to watch a man talk to angry wild elephants. Emotions are communicated both ways. It shows there are other senses than those we normally think about or accept.

The story is
Jean Poulos
Feb 27, 2016 Jean Poulos rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Anthony (17 September 1950-2 March 2012) was a conservationist with the Thula Game Reserve in Zululand, South Africa. He was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” elephants otherwise they would be killed. The elephants had been badly traumatized and would require special care. Apparently he wanted to refuse because of the problems of adding another herd of elephants, but he just could not say no.

The story tells of the bonding with the elephants and becoming part of the herd. Anthony tells i
I greatly regret that I have this on audiobook and did not to get to see the great pictures that everyone is referencing as being part of the book, still, what I lacked in actual photos the author (and the narrator, Simon Vance did wonderful) were able to paint very vivid images of Thula Thula and the herd of escapist, mistreated, rogue elephants that Anthony would eventually win over.

There were moments in the book that were alternately so poignant or so beautiful that I refused to put my book d
Feb 13, 2014 Donnaleigh rated it it was amazing
This is a very , very special book. What's unique about it is that this is an animal story told by a conservationist who knows the importance of keeping them in the wild and keeping them feral. Yet, the very impact of man on wildlife has forced the author to make some creative changes in order to save the lives of these magnificent creatures. Constantly striving to create safety and a balance to the elephants and other wildlife, even at the risk of his own life, Lawrence Anthony brings us up clo ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Jami rated it it was amazing
This book was interesting, sad, funny and inspirational; I feel a sense of loss that Mr. Anthony is no longer with us. His theory and way of life of not interfering with nature is admirable; it has to be hard to see another creature be killed and leave it alone because that is the way of nature. It was eerie reading how the elephants sensed when he went away and were waiting for him at the exact time he returned to Thula Thula; in hindsight, it is reminiscent of the elephants appearing at his ho ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
What a great book! Elephants are amazing creatures. They are strong and even resilient.

This is a non-fiction account of the plight of a herd of wild elephants who learned early on to not trust humans. When the author agreed to take them in on his Thula Thula game reserve, his life was changed forever and so were the lives of the elephants.

True, this is a story about elephant rescue, but it is so much more than that. It is a true story of love, trust, communication, and forgiveness. It isn't ent
This has been my out-and-about book for the last couple of months, reading it when I had a chance at the zoo or waiting for appointments and the like.

I found it a very inspiring account of Lawrence Anthony's work in Africa, not only with this adopted herd of elephants but dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a game reserve, the biggest issue being poaching.

There were some heart-breaking moments in the book as well as some moving and funny ones. He doesn't sugar-coat the challenge of hi
Anthony did amazing work with wildlife. His sanctuary, Thula Thula, hosts a number of animals including the group of elephants he chronicles in this book.

There are great stories of Zulu culture and wonderful stories about Anthony's life with his elephants. I loved hearing about all of the antics.

My only complaint is I felt this book could have used a better editor: there were lots of missing commas (enough that I wanted to take a pen and start inserting them all into the text).
Oct 04, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
When I purchased this book during an audible sale, I knew nothing about Anthony Lawrence. As I listened, initially, I saw Lawrence as a privileged white South African, paternalistically trying to exert his mores and will on the Zulu people. Sure, everyone likes elephants, but it is Zulu business what they do with their land. After listening to the book in its entirety, I still think that Lawrence believed that he knew what was best for the Zulus, but I just couldn’t help but admire and like Anth ...more
May 17, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing
"They [the elephants] taught me that all life forms are important to each other in our common quest for happiness and survival. That there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind."

This is one of the most remarkable stories I’ve read in my life, and has been inspirational to me over the past year. Lawrence Anthony’s retelling of the rescue of a herd of traumatised elephants moved me from the first page to the last. I’ve spent some of the last year writing about eleph
May 22, 2012 Bev rated it it was amazing
This book is subtitled "My Life with the Herd in the African Wild." Anthony, a South African conservationist who owns a reserve called Thula Thula received a call that someone needed to get rid of a herd of rogue elephants--they would either give them to him or, if he could not take them, they would be destroyed. Against his better judgement, he accepted the elephants and thus began the adventure of settling them into their new surroundings, winning their trust, and learning the lessons the elep ...more
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“The only good cage is an empty cage.” 55 likes
“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.” 36 likes
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