By Vicki Croke
NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES striking BOOK
The striking tale of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s biggest land animals reworked him from a carefree younger guy into the charismatic conflict hero often called Elephant Bill
Billy Williams got here to colonial Burma in 1920, clean from provider in international battle I, to a role 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 therapy for them, even setting up an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In go back, he acknowledged, the elephants made him a greater guy. The friendship of 1 marvelous tusker specifically, Bandoola, will be revelatory. In Elephant corporation, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s becoming love for elephants because the animals offer him classes in braveness, belief, and gratitude.
yet Elephant Company is usually a story of battle and bold. while Imperial eastern forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite strength 136, the British soiled methods division, working in the back of enemy traces. His battle elephants may 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 reliable via smuggling extra elephants out of Japanese-held territory. because the occupying gurus positioned a value on his head, Williams and his elephants confronted his such a lot perilous try. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant corporation, cornered by means of the enemy, tried a determined get away: 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 struggle epic, and half flora and fauna event, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known bankruptcy within the annals of wartime heroism.
Praise for Elephant Company
“This publication is ready way over 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 below a sweeping story, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The manhattan occasions booklet Review
“Splendid . . . mixing biography, heritage, and natural world 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 most important heroes of worldwide battle II have been even higher than you notion. . . . 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 identify. Billy Williams is a rare personality, a real-life opposite Tarzan raised in civilization who unearths knowledge and his precise self dwelling between jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke gives you a thrilling story of this elephant whisperer–cum–war hero, whereas fantastically reminding us of the iconic bonds among animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, writer of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time
Preview of Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II PDF
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Extra resources for Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
The little calf had drowned. It was once ache sufficient for Williams, yet then he regarded over on the solitary determine of Mahoo Nee. She stood silently within the shallows of the river, straining to listen to, because the waves slapped opposed to her flanks and the rain poured down. Her uzi directed her to the component of the river the place her son had drowned. She started to name out for him—bellowing repeatedly. notwithstanding advisor guy had now not made any sound the people might pay attention as he slipped below, Williams felt convinced that Mahoo Nee knew what had occurred. “It can have been my fancy,” Williams wrote, yet “in her calls there has been no desire of solution. ” She appeared to be expressing surprise and grief as she stood over the buried physique of her son. She reluctantly moved away whilst commanded, crying out as she driven opposed to the present, crying nonetheless as she heaved herself up onto the shore. And all of the as far back as camp. by means of dusk, she was once silent. Heartbroken, Williams and the uzis hand-fed her all her favourite treats. She did consume a few, yet anything used to be now extraordinarily damaged inside of her. 3 weeks later, she was once lifeless. Williams held no postmortem, even though that used to be ordinary method in such circumstances. “The explanation for death,” he stated, used to be “obvious. ” bankruptcy 12 THE JUNGLE relatives HAS NO spouse by means of THE summer time OF 1925, WILLIAMS was once a real JUNGLE MAN—not a spare ounce of flesh on his bones, hair buzzed all the way down to an army minimalism, pores and skin browned by way of the solar. He labored like a jungle salt and performed like one, too—keeping a polo pony or at his neighborhood headquarters so he may well take part prepared video games whilst he got here in from the wooded area. He had made lifelong acquaintances with a few of his colleagues, and widespread others—men reminiscent of Colin Kayem, “the bravest and maddest” wooded area guy Williams knew; Harold Langford Browne, as good-looking as a matinee idol and liked via the uzis; and massive Geoff Bostock, a hugely revered teak guy relocating up the corporate ranks. Williams’s satisfactions have been huge, immense, and but as he drew toward the age of thirty, he started to take inventory of his lifestyles as a complete. He have been to England on depart as soon as to discover that almost all of his neighbors have been married, whereas he had rarely dated. He attempted making up for misplaced time there via an extreme love affair with a stunning lady from a filthy rich kin. yet he used to be quickly again within the wooded area on my own. occasionally he skilled such an overpowering urge to mate that he considered quitting. His melancholy wasn’t strange. woodland assistants like Williams spent such a lot in their time within the jungle, not able to fulfill Englishwomen in any respect, yet even the lucky ones who did be able to develop into engaged wouldn't marry until they ascended to the ranks of administration. It was once a well-established axiom that it took approximately ten years for a wooded area guy to be able to wed. at present on the midway element, Williams started to ponder whether he may perhaps carry out. Williams was once an avid polo participant and stored a pony or at his bungalow. during this photo, his loved Alsatian, Molly Mia, trails him. even though he well-known the wonderful thing about the Burmese, he stated, he didn't want to undertake the colonial behavior of utilizing and discarding neighborhood girls as wanted.