By Vicki Croke

NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES remarkable BOOK

The awesome tale of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s greatest land animals remodeled him from a carefree younger guy into the charismatic struggle hero often called Elephant Bill
 
Billy Williams got here to colonial Burma in 1920, clean from provider in international battle I, to a task as a “forest guy” for a British teak corporation. Mesmerized through the intelligence, personality, or even humor of the nice animals who hauled logs throughout the distant jungles, he grew to become a talented “elephant wallah.” more and more expert at treating their health problems and accidents, he additionally championed extra humane remedy for them, even developing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In go back, he acknowledged, the elephants made him a greater guy. The friendship of 1 amazing tusker specifically, Bandoola, will be revelatory. In Elephant corporation, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s turning out to be love for elephants because the animals offer him classes in braveness, belief, and gratitude.
 
yet Elephant Company can be a story of struggle and bold. whilst Imperial eastern forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled tips division, working at the back of enemy strains. His warfare elephants could hold offers, construct bridges, and delivery the ill and aged over treacherous mountain terrain. Now good versed within the methods of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even further to his solid by means of smuggling extra elephants out of Japanese-held territory. because the occupying gurus positioned a cost on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his so much perilous try out. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered by means of the enemy, tried a determined break out: a dicy trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled team of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits may earn him most sensible army honors and the compliment of famed box Marshal Sir William Slim.
 
half biography, half battle epic, and half flora and fauna experience, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known bankruptcy within the annals of wartime heroism.

Praise for Elephant Company
 
“This e-book is set excess of simply the struggle, or maybe elephants. this can be the tale of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is not anything under a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The long island instances publication Review

“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and flora and fauna biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s tale is a regularly relocating account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his strange bond with the most important land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Some of the largest heroes of worldwide warfare II have been even larger than you proposal. . . . you could by no means name the lion the king of the jungle again.”—New York Post

Elephant Company is as robust and big-hearted because the animals of its name. Billy Williams is a unprecedented personality, a real-life opposite Tarzan raised in civilization who unearths knowledge and his real self residing between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke can provide a thrilling story of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, whereas superbly reminding us of the iconic bonds among animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, writer of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time

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A breezy veranda, used as an open-air lounge with a few previous cane chairs, rimmed the 1st tale. the gorgeous backyard was once full of brightly coloured timber and flowers—purple bougainvillea, imported yellow allamanda, and crimson and yellow cannas, that have been visited through soft soaring hummingbirds. Susan instantly made plans so as to add a vegetable backyard during which she may perhaps develop chili peppers “to provide a chunk to Jim’s breakfast buttered eggs. ” the inner used to be spacious and good-looking. simply contained in the front, there has been a wide eating room (where the desk legs have been set in tin lids choked with kerosene to deter ants) and a sitting room. a sublime, twisting teak staircase ruled the guts. The furnishings, selected through the corporate, was once sturdy and formal. The stuffiness can be relieved, notwithstanding, by means of floor-to-ceiling hinged shutters, which opened the rooms to the outside. The bedrooms have been considerable, and every contained baths. regardless of the presence of taps, the large zinc tubs have been stuffed no longer via smooth plumbing yet through servants hefting jugs of sizzling water. A glazed earthenware “Pegu jar” containing chilly water used to be continuously inside effortless succeed in. The bathrooms have been emptied through a lowly Indian employee who had his personal sweeper’s staircase from which he may perhaps silently and invisibly eliminate what will be flushed in a contemporary toilet. As keen as Susan used to be to settle in, it can need to wait. There wasn’t time to unpack containers from England, because the couple have been approximately to embark on their first jungle travel jointly. this is often what Jim have been dreaming of for a decade: his existence between elephants shared along with his real love. He sought after Susan to have every little thing he did, together with his outfits. He designed a female model of his personal box dresser for her, beginning with an Australian bush blouse, personalized with 4 great wallet, adapted for a lady, and hemmed at knee size. underneath this, Susan might put on fantastic smooth-cotton lisle stockings, woolen ankle socks, and canvas climbing boots. She enjoyed it. Their trip started that first cool morning simply after sunrise. Jim’s rank and marital prestige now entitled him to a wide entourage. Twenty visitor elephants—tuskers mistaken for logging paintings, ladies, or even a teenager—appeared from out of the hoop of wooded area that surrounded the home. The animals have been ended in the rear veranda from which servants loaded them up with baggage, light-weight Burmese baskets, and equipment. It used to be expertly organized—tents and poles on one elephant, and beds, suitcases, tables, chairs, and hi fi dispensed in a scientific model at the others. Po Sin, Joseph the cook’s kitchen elephant, carried not just the entire pots and pans, yet in cane plaited baskets, the stay chickens and geese who could finally prove in them. (Susan ultimately insisted on pardoning geese; the 2 birds have been carried all of the manner domestic the place they lived out their common lives as pets. ) additionally they introduced Rhoda, a bit buff-colored cocker spaniel; Gipsy, a wirehaired fox terrier; and one cat, a Siamese named Tigger.

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