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The Elephant Whisperer: Learning About Life, Loyalty and Freedom From a Remarkable Herd of Elephants

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  13,218 ratings  ·  1,868 reviews
Elephant Whisperer
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 2nd 2017 by Pan Macmillan UK (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.
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4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,218 ratings  ·  1,868 reviews

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Meet Nana, Frankie, Mnumzane, Mabula, Marula, Nandi and Mandla. In 1999 Lawrence Anthony, wildlife conservationist and owner of Thula Thula(1) in Zululand, South Africa, was asked to take in a herd of troubled elephants. They had been severely traumatised and needed a new home, else they would be shot. Everything had to be arranged and completed within a short period of time in order to save the elephants’ lives, and Mr Anthony was determined to do so. He promptly employed dozens of local labour ...more
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chanced upon a reference to the book “The Elephant Whisperer” by Lawrence Anthony (with Graham Spence) while reading an article on the internet. I found the summary interesting and later got the book. It has been a very fascinating and highly recommended read.

The story is about Lawrence Anthony and his experience with a herd of wild elephants. Lawrence owns the Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. He gets a call one day asking if he is interested in having a herd of wild elephants. These
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Kristofic
Jan 21, 2010 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
Jan 29, 2014 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,
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is completely out of my normal selection but so glad I chose to read it. I have always had a fascination and fondness of elephants and it was mainly the reason I started reading it.
This book is a real treat, written by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony who tells of his
exploits when he accepted a herd of 'rogue' elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. Against all advice he took on the herd and told that it was their last chance of survival, as they were
Una Tiers
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 08, 2012 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
Lisa Hagan
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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!
Michael Perkins
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Africa, there’s no place like it on earth. The translucent orange and lavender skies. The thrum of life beneath your feet. The fingers of wind that caress. The giraffes, the lions, the leopards, the cheetahs, the hyenas, the wild dogs, the black rhinos and, of course, the magisterial elephants.

Our first stop was Cape Town. The drive from the airport takes you past Cape Flats, a remnant of apartheid that displays small, boxed dwellings that stretch as far as the eye can see, housing the poorest
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 was 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 so poignant or so beautiful that I refused to put my book down. Some mo
Laura (Kyahgirl)
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura (Kyahgirl) by: Kathleen
5/5; 5 stars; A+

I rarely listen to non-fiction on audio but I am so glad I adhered to my friend Kathleen's recommendation and gave this one a listen. The biography, beautifully narrated by Simon Vance, managed to capture the essence of so many things. Most important of these, the mystery and magnificence of wild elephants. But in addition to that, Anthony's book gives the reader useful insights into conservancy itself, as well as the complexities of recovering from the extensive damage wrought b
Sep 26, 2014 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
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 farther 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 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Rudy Dalessandro
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
May 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-and-essay
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
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous book. Lawrence Anthony and his story of bringing a group of mistreated elephants to live on his reserve Thula Thula is remarkable. The book ranges from the relationship he develops with the mistreated elephants to help them adjust to life in the reserve to his dealings with local tribal leaders

There is never a dull moment on Thula Thula because like in our lives problems arise that must be dealt with. However, we don’t need worry about poachers or deadly snakes.

Through the book, read
4.5 stars

Lawrence Anthony bought a game reserve in South Africa and shortly after, rescued a herd of troublemaking elephants. He was able to calm them down and even befriend them. As the elephants become more well-behaved, his reserve grew with more and more wildlife and stories (good and bad, including poaching, a common threat) on the reserve.

I loved most of this! I listened to the audio, and did lose interest a few times, mostly during parts that weren’t about the animals, and I ended up sob
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday, it was reported that a trophy Hunter in South Africa was killed by a dying elephant. He and his crew came upon four breeding elephants, shot at three,and were rushed at by the fourth. They shot at her too. As she died, she crushed the leader of the group.

The story brought me back to how much I loved this book. It is not a sentimental book about how "sweet" these animals are and it's not a dry book laying out facts about them. Instead, it's about the relationship of one human with elep
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“The only good cage is an empty cage.” 63 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.” 44 likes
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