358 pages, b/w photo plates
For millennia, people all over the world have revered, adored and exploited elephants. In Thailand, a pregnant woman might duck under an elephant's belly to encourage an easy delivery; a tycoon has built an elephant-shaped skyscraper; and pirate loggers feed amphetamines to their elephants to make them haul backbreaking loads. In India, worshippers dance with gilded tuskers at ecstatic temple festivals. Scientists have proposed to restore lost ecosystems by reintroducing the elephants and mammoths that once ruled them. And generation after generation of readers have delighted in Babar, Horton and Dumbo. In a kaleidoscopic account rich in historic lore, surprising science and exotic adventure, Eric Scigliano traces an enduring, extraordinary relationship between species and shows how it still haunts and inspires us today.
'A rich and enthusiastic study Reads like an extended love letter to an animal whose history is closely tangled with ours' Daily Telegraph 'Scigliano appears to have interviewed every living enthusiast available, is naturally an enthusiast himself, and has produced a book exhaustive in scope but utterly entertaining to read. He achieves this by including everything we expect from elephants: the marvellous, the spectacular, the larger than (human) life' Independent on Sunday 'A passionate account of why humans fall for these fascinating and remarkable creatures' Sunday Times 'The crossover points between our own history and that of the elephant are numerous and always enlightening' Daily Mail
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Eric Scigliano, an editor at Seattle Metropolitan magazine, has written for many other publications, including Harper's, Discover, National Geographic and the New York Times. His latest book is Michelangelo's Mountain: The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara (Free Press). He first became fascinated with elephants as a child in Vietnam. He is also the winner of the Livingston and American Association for the Advancement of Science writing awards. He lives in Seattle.