In the two hundred years since their arrival in America, elephants have worked on farms, mills, mines, and railroads, in Hollywood, and in professional baseball. They've contributed to the national discourse on civil rights, immigration, politics, and capitalism. They became so deeply ingrained in the American way that they were once accorded the rights of American citizenship, including the right to vote and the right to provide testimony under oath—and they have incurred brutal punishments when convicted of human crimes.
In Behemoth, Ronald B. Tobias has written the first comprehensive history of the elephant in America. As tragic as it is comic, this enthralling chronicle traces this animal's indelible footprint on American culture.
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About the Author
Ronald B. Tobias is a professor of science and natural history filmmaking in the School of Film and Photography at Montana State University. He was a producer for the Discovery Channel for fifteen years and has produced, written, and directed more than thirty natural history films, many of which have appeared on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'Behemoth' can be viewed almost as a complement to 'Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison'. If the latter illustrated the human ignorance and greed through the story of a single elephant, Mr. Tobias cast the net wider by introducing us to various elephants, whose encounters with early Americans usually didn't end well. Take the case of "Murderous Mary", whose torturous and agonizing hanging by crane provided entertainment for the hordes of people. It's also interesting how much people project their own perceptions and prejudices onto these poor animals. For example, Jumbo was tragically killed while trying to escape an oncoming train, but the papers portrayed it as a contest between machine and beast. The book ends with the present where people have become more aware, but it's clear that the fate of elephants hangs in precarious balance. I have a soft spot for elephants, and Mr. Tobias did a good job educating us about the suffering of these animals at the hands of people who neither understood nor had the inclination to learn about them.
We had one at dupge forest preserve by hinsdale as usual our dear AA has removed all doubt if this is what we would like to read h h is replaced and again saved by a in depth review