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An Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait from Africa

An Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait from Africa

5.0 1
by Caitlin O'connell, Timothy Rodwell (Photographer)

The struggles and celebrations of nature's largest land creatures—with more than 250 spectacular full-color photos by Caitlin O'Connell and Timothy Rodwell An Elephant's Life provides a unique and fascinating immersion into the world of the African elephant, told by a leading field biologist who has been researching and photographing these animals in their


The struggles and celebrations of nature's largest land creatures—with more than 250 spectacular full-color photos by Caitlin O'Connell and Timothy Rodwell An Elephant's Life provides a unique and fascinating immersion into the world of the African elephant, told by a leading field biologist who has been researching and photographing these animals in their natural habitat for nearly two decades. Here, for the first time, readers get a fuller picture of elephant society cast in a broader context, including the life of the male elephant in all its high drama. Merging the visual traditions of photojournalism and the nature documentary with the narrative voice of such classics as Jane Goodall's Chimpanzees of Gombe, this large-format, full-color volume of photo essays provides a uniquely rich understanding of what it's like to grow up and live within the complexities of elephant society at every turn of the page. Readers will experience the frustrations and anguish of the coming-of-age male struggling to leave his family, witness the constant vigilance a matriarch exerts to protect her family, and feel the drama of a dominant male trying to hold onto power during times of peace and times of social upheaval. Like Wolf Empire (Lyons Press, 2007), An Elephant's Life is an intimate portrait of a beloved and fascinating species.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An Elephant's Life is a delightful and very informative book packed with excellent photos of elephant behavior and elephants just being magnificent. I would highly recommend it for all ages. It's definitely a book elephant lovers should add to their libraries, and it's also be a good starting volume for those who have recently discovered just how amazing elephants are." —Cynthia Moss, Director of Amboseli Trust for Elephants and author of Elephant Memories "The photographs and writing in this book depict the world from an elephant's point of view, taken at critical moments throughout an elephant's life. These images capture each episode, giving the reader a feeling of being there and a sense of the high emotion and the challenges of life within and outside elephant families. Today there are few elephants living undisturbed in Africa. The human footprint is closing in, destroying habitats, reaping ivory, and threatening elephant survival. The beauty of what is shown in this book may awaken human sentiments that will value elephants in their own right and lead to their survival." —Iain Douglas-Hamilton, co-author of Among The Elephants and Director of Save the Elephants. "Caitlin O'Connell's fascinating work with elephants in Namibia's Etosha National Park has yielded important new insights into the ways in which elephants communicate with each other, both up close and across great distances. "An Elephant's Life" combines her hard-won scientific understanding with a loving and intimate visual portrayal of the lives of elephants. With beautiful images by both Caitlin and Timothy Rodwell, this book will show you that we've just begun to comprehend these complex, emotional creatures." —Frans Lanting, photographer of Eye to Eye "In photos and text, this book evokes the majesty of these gray and wrinkly but beautiful beasts, all the while reminding us of their sensitivities, their loyalties, and their wild nature." —USA Today "In her coffee table book, elephant expert Caitlin O'Connell uses a career's worth of photographs to illuminate the everyday activities of elephants. There are a handful of expansive vistas and breathtaking wildlife snaps in An Elephant's Life, but mostly O'Connell gets up close and personal with a single pack of African behemoths, shooting them as they skulk around in a ho-hum-looking watering hole in Namibia's Etosha National Park. That dusty, muddy theater offers plenty of insight into an elephant's lifestyle – from power struggles to child rearing to their delicate everyday gestures of trust and endearment. O'Connell captures adult females using their trunks to hoist a young bull elephant to safety after he takes a spill in a drinking trough. She also gets a record of elephants defending their rights to the good drinking water and adolescent males bullying the little kids. In these frozen moments, you can look deep into their gray and wrinkled visages and imagine the same issues playing out at your own family's Thanksgiving dinner." —Washington Post"An Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait from Africa blends animal photography with natural history to offer a personal look at elephant society, and comes from a leading field biologist who has researched and photographed elephants in nature for nearly twenty years. Photodocumentary tools mix with narrative journal insights to provide a more personal portrait of the elephant than competing elephant surveys." —Midwest Book Review"Elephants have long been regarded with affection for their intelligence and praised for their loyal family bonds. Ecologist and naturalist Caitlin O'Connell has put together a fascinating photo journal of elephants as individuals and as members of family groups, along with pictures of associated denizens of the veldt in and around Etosha National Park in Namibia. This is a grand photo revue of these mammoth animals outlined within awesome vistas while displaying their identifying features, family members, social rules, and interactions. Meet the matriarchal family of Big Momma, or other recognized females called Sheba and Nandi, or of the bull elephant named Greg. Follow these families through the recorded photos and listen to their plans through the interpretive and concise explanatory text. The impressive array of colored prints conveys the flavor of Africa, and the reader continues along the safari examining the animals as they follow their normal routines. Each photo is accompanied by a short text clearly explaining some detail of the animal's behavior or situation. This charming album recording elephant life will interest all age groups, especially those who love elephants. Youngsters will be especially enthralled to learn that much in elephant behavior parallels that of humans." —San Francisco Book ReviewPraise for Caitlin O'Connell's previous book, The Elephant's Secret Sense "A successful combination of science and soulfulness." —Publishers Weekly "A riveting account of scientific discovery. . . . An addictive narrative." —Booklist

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Caitlin O'Connell is on the faculty at Stanford University Medical School and an author. Educated at Fairfield University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the University of California, Davis, where she earned a Ph.D. in Ecology, Dr. O'Connell has been studying elephant ecology and behavior for over 15 years. She has published over 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles and numerous articles for the popular press. She has also published the book The Elephant's Secret Sense (Free Press hc 2007; Chicago U Press pb 2008). She will also publish a photo journal for children, The Elephant Scientist with Houghton-Miffling in Spring 2011. Dr. O'Connell also works on science education projects from the classroom to the field and other aspects of conservation including coral reef and flamingo restoration.

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Elephant's Life: An Intimate Portrait from Africa 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago