Africa's Elephant

Africa's Elephant : A Biography

3.75 (84 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback

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Yet elephant history has been dominated by periods of brutality and persecution, used in gladiatorial combat, as weapons of war (most notably by Hannibal) and for their ivory, prized since ancient times as a symbol of wealth and status. As the ivory trade continued there are now only five countries with sizeable elephant populations, where a few hundred years ago there were forty-six - before the European hunters arrived. Acclaimed African expert Martin Meredith has written the first full biography of the elephant - wide-ranging, moving and never less than fascinating in his travels through the history and present of 'Nature's great masterpiece' (John Donne).show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 2458 pages
  • 147.32 x 223.52 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 8 b&w photos, line drawings
  • 0340770813
  • 9780340770818

Review Text

When historians 100 years from now look back upon the last millennium they will mark it as the time man decided to wage war upon all animals. Drawing from the relationship of man and elephant in the last two thousand years; Martin Meredith paints the portrait of a complex, intelligent animal hunted to near extinction; sacrificed to our drive for profit. In a dispassionate account of the history of elephant hunting and the early use of elephants as a weapon of war, Meredith succeeds in showing how the history of man and elephant was totally intertwined: the same drive that was helping man build his empires was also leading to the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants each year. Mixing anecdote, explorers' accounts and scientific facts Meredith shows the intelligence and depth of social life possessed by this magnificent animal. Yet, in his drive to show the greatness of an animal he clearly loves Meredith is also a little uncritical of his sources. His casual use of folkloric accounts of elephants' mental prowess strikes a jarring note and spoils the effectiveness of his narrative. Despite these reservations this is an important book. (Kirkus UK)show more

Author information

Martin Meredith has spent most of his working life writing about Africa, for fifteen years writing about Zimbabwe and Kenya for the Observer and the Sunday Times. From 1991-93 he co-ordinated a team of economists to advise governments in South Africa on prospects for establishing an economic community more

Review quote

"Lead review coverage for an excellent book of great quality; Author appearances at Literary Festivals and full UK tour; Co-operative and Christmas promotion budgets availableshow more

Rating details

84 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 23% (19)
4 40% (34)
3 26% (22)
2 11% (9)
1 0% (0)
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