Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Elephant Whisperer” as Want to Read:
The Elephant Whisperer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Elephant Whisperer

(Elephant Whisperer)

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  19,437 ratings  ·  2,580 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 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Elephant Whisperer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 ar…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.
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 "hell…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,437 ratings  ·  2,580 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Elephant Whisperer
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I’ll add thoughts later when I read my paperback. I listened to this from the library and my fantasy narrator, Simon Vance narrated! And yes, I cried!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Aug 28, 2012 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.
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
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
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
Anne ✨
(4.5) A touching memoir of a South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony and his wildlife game reserve in Zululand. The book focuses on his taking in a herd of "rogue" wild elephants, the adventures that ensued, and the incredible connections Lawrence formed with them as they learned to trust him.

More than just feel-good animal rescue story, Lawrence also includes insight on the challenges of running a wildlife reserve and the ever-present danger of poachers. So don't let the "whisperer" tit
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
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
This memoir about a herd of 'rogue' elephants and conservationist Lawrence on his reserve in Africa is feel-good and informative at the same time. The audiobook won an Audie and it is well deserved as it is a great listen. I thoroughly enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it. ...more
Many years ago I read Lawrence Anthony’s outstanding book entitled Babylon’s Ark which told the story of his rescue of the surviving animals of the Baghdad Zoo after America’s “shock and awe” attack. The respect and admiration I felt for this amazing conservationist inspired me to read more of his books. The Elephant Whisperer had been on my TBR list for quite awhile, and I was happy when my book club chose to read it.

Lawrence Anthony was born and raised in Africa. He had an immense respect for
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Joy D
“In 1999, I was asked to accept a herd of troubled wild elephants on my game reserve. I had no inkling of the escapades and adventures I was about to embark upon. I had no idea how challenging it would be or how much my life would be enriched. The adventure has been both physical and spiritual. Physical in the sense that it was action from the word go, as you will see in the following pages; spiritual because these giants of the planet took me deep into their world.” – Lawrence Anthony, The Elep ...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,
Elmo Solhaga
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorites!
Lisa Hagan
Jan 25, 2012 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
Michael Perkins
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Brooke W
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lanae Anne
Recommended to Brooke by: Larae Keyes
Shelves: favorites
I highly recommend this book to everyone! It's heartfelt, eye-opening, and it doesn't feel like a long non-fiction book.

Because this book was told by someone who had real experience and interaction with elephants, there was emotion in this book that no one else could write. If someone who hasn't taken in elephants wrote this book, I wouldn't have been able to make it through. This book is truly special.

I recently learned that Laurence Anthony, the author, passed away a few years ago, and while I
Diane S ☔
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-2021
Thoughts soon.
Mar 08, 2016 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
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. ...more
Una Tiers
Oct 16, 2016 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.
Vasudhendra Vasudhendra
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is a treat for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Lawrence Anthony (1950-2012) is a conservationist of South Africa. He had more than 5000 acres of forest reserve in Zululand, by name Thula Thula. Unexpectedly he gets a request to take care of 7 wild elephants, all belonging to same herd. If he refuses the request, all the elephants will be killed as they are causing lot of damages to the owner. Lawrence accepts them with a wary mind. However it turns out to be a life changing expe
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Edited May 2015: I first read this book in May 2014 and just finished a re-read. The following review stands. I loved it just as much if not more than the first time I read it. Wonderful book!

This just won an Audie Award for best audio book in the bio/memoir category and in my opinion it was well-deserved. It will definitely be among my all-time favorites. I have a soft spot in my heart for elephants and this book reinforced those feelings. I ran the gamut of emotions as I read this book: I laug
L.G. Cullens
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Elephant Whisper by Lawrence Anthony

First off, understand that the title of this book is highly misleading. This story is actually a balance of wondrous and woeful perspective of the reality of physical life, especially in the latter chapters, depicted through fascinating experiences. There is a powerful, elemental message threaded through this writing about all life forms journeying together, connected, and dependent on each other for existence, which includes humans. If strong emotions are
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
Feb 21, 2016 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
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
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 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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • An Elephant in My Kitchen
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
  • Elephant Dawn: The Inspirational Story of Thirteen Years Living with Elephants in the African Wilderness
  • Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
  • A Game Ranger Remembers
  • Cry of the Kalahari
  • Saving the Last Rhinos: The Life of a Frontline Conservationist
  • The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa's Wildlife
  • Cowboy and His Elephant
  • Elephants Are People Too: More Tales from the African bush
  • Msomi and Me
  • The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness
  • Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family
  • My Life in the Bush
  • I Dreamed of Africa
  • Mahlangeni
  • Among the Elephants
  • Back to the Bush: Another Year in the Wild
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Other books in the series

Elephant Whisperer (3 books)
  • An Elephant in My Kitchen
  • The Elephant Whisperer (Young Readers Adaptation): My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

News & Interviews

These twelve books are so consistently adored, they have become regulars month after month in our data of most popular and most read books on...
106 likes · 42 comments
“The only good cage is an empty cage.” 83 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.” 51 likes
More quotes…