By Vicki Croke

NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES awesome BOOK

The notable tale of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s biggest land animals remodeled him from a carefree younger guy into the charismatic warfare hero referred to as Elephant Bill
 
Billy Williams got here to colonial Burma in 1920, clean from carrier in international warfare I, to a role as a “forest guy” for a British teak corporation. Mesmerized by means of the intelligence, personality, or even humor of the good animals who hauled logs during the distant jungles, he grew to become a proficient “elephant wallah.” more and more expert at treating their health problems and accidents, he additionally championed extra humane therapy for them, even developing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In go back, he stated, 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 becoming love for elephants because the animals supply him classes in braveness, belief, and gratitude.
 
yet Elephant Company can also be a story of battle and bold. whilst Imperial jap forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled methods division, working in the back of enemy traces. His warfare elephants could hold provides, construct bridges, and shipping the ailing 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 placed a value on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his such a lot perilous try out. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered via the enemy, tried a determined get away: a dicy trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled workforce 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 conflict epic, and half natural world event, 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 warfare, or perhaps elephants. this is often the tale of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . Elephant Company is not anything lower than a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The big apple occasions publication Review

“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and flora and fauna biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke’s tale is a frequently relocating account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet ‘Elephant Bill,’ and his strange bond with the biggest land mammals on earth.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Some of the largest heroes of global warfare II have been even greater than you proposal. . . . you'll 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 precise self dwelling between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke supplies 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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Aung Bala, the lifeless uzi, used to be a recognized opium addict, yet habit used to be quite common and didn't prevent different riders. And with Po Toke supervising the animal’s care, there do not have been an issue. while Williams arrived, the uzis and their households met him. The sorrow in camp was once palpable. As he walked ahead, he observed whatever he had by no means proposal he may: Po Toke, the icon of light education, spear in hand, guarding the shackled and disgraced Bandoola. A moment spearman stood at consciousness, too. Williams took a difficult examine the tusker. He believed he had witnessed approximately each human emotion in elephants, together with disgrace. in truth, many elephants who kill people look very remorseful later on, even attempting to choose their sufferers up and get them on their toes. yet Bandoola seemed unrepentant. If something, the assault appeared to have given him an urge for food. there have been nice mounds of clean nutrients throughout him—sugarcane, plantain timber, and bamboo—and he was once tucking into all of it with an excellent greed. It didn’t make experience. And the reply wouldn't be user-friendly. Williams must play detective. step one was once to rule out any actual reason for an issue. Williams proven what he already knew—Bandoola definitely was once now not in musth; there have been no fluids staining his cheeks. So had an individual overwhelmed the elephant? on account that there have been no conspicuous wounds, he searched for hidden ones. He informed Po Toke to rigorously pull Bandoola’s ears ahead. If an uzi have been going to mistreat an elephant, he may aim this delicate epidermis at the back of the ear. Williams observed not anything. Bandoola was once unmarked. The extra Williams studied the scene, the extra frightened Po Toke grew to become. after which one peculiarity without notice stood out to Williams: there have been no droppings close to the chained elephant, and no sweep marks within the sand indicating their removing. The elephant easily had no longer defecated for hours. Williams requested Po Toke who had introduced Bandoola’s ceremonial dinner, and he acknowledged that Aung Bala had. Now that simply didn’t appear most probably: the fellow were useless for hours and there has been an excessive amount of nutrition nonetheless there, really for an elephant consuming so ravenously. Williams idea he had figured it out: Bandoola were starved. Williams acknowledged not anything approximately his droop, yet instructed Po Toke to stroll the part mile to the village with him to view Aung Bala’s physique. All alongside the course they handed the opposite elephants who had made the crossing that day. The little clearings within which each one workforce of elephants stood have been not like the scene of Bandoola’s incarceration. For the remainder of the elephants, there has been hardly ever whatever left of the night meal and many facts of digestion: piles of droppings the place the elephants stood. U San Din, who had led the river crossing, used to be ready on the headman’s residence. whilst Williams confided what he concept, U San Din appeared relieved. He had no longer desired to be the informer. Now he didn’t need to be; Williams had solved the secret. U San Din crammed in a number of info. certain, Bandoola had long past with no nutrients, and never simply in this night.

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