Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived

by Ralph Helfer
4.5 107


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Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer

Spanning seven decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again; through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060929510
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/1998
Series: Harper Perennial
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 99,173
Product dimensions: 7.96(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Ralph Helfer is a well-known Hollywood animal trainer who was one of the first to use affection and kindness to train wild animals. He is the author of The Beauty of the Beasts, and he lives in Los Angeles and Kenya, where he leads safari tours.

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Modoc 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Blitzismydog More than 1 year ago
The premise of this book--that the elephant and baby are born the same day many years ago and grow up together--is fascinating and endearing, and you really want to go along on this ride. It's a great theme for a book, compelling and terrific... but falls apart. There's no documentation for the "true" tale, no quoted witnesses, no photos of the trainer Bram, and nothing to support the entire story. Helfer does not even claim that it was told to him by "Bram," so we don't actually know how it came to be. The plot points are all hit by other reviewers--idyllic youth in Germany, elephant purchased by evil big-deal American circus owner, trainer who can't separate from the animal he has never owned, etc. While I love the story and all the details about the shipwreck, the Elephantarium in India, the maharajah/white elephant, etc., the truth eventually becomes apparent--this story cannot possibly BE true. And so it should not be hyped as such on the subtitle/cover. The writing is over the top and sentimental. The book is organized purely by chronology, although exact years, references to the War, Depression, etc, are missing. There's nothing wrong with it if that's what you like, but this is labelled non-fiction; this type of book is generally not so emotional. It reminds me of a Victorian-style novel in that it deals in the emotional plane nearly all the way through. So perhaps it's one person's version of a compiled "truth." It would be easier to accept if it were labelled as a compilation of many of the best circus-elephant stories out there... which would probably be a GREAT idea for a book! With pictures, interviews, illustrations, descriptions and news excerpts. Like real non-fiction! Also interesting that nowhere on the internet can I find an interview of Helfer about this book. It was fairly well received when it came out and has sold well over the years... so why doesn't he come out and tell fans/readers what the truth of the book might be? There are a lot of over-emotional animal lovers out there who would love to hear more... I myself have hunted in vain for more info on Modoc and/or Bram, but there's little to be found. Modoc was the name of several circus elephants, adding to the puzzle. So... it's a great story, but don't be fooled into thinking it's all true. It's written in a very emotional, opinionated way. I think animal lovers would like it regardless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Modoc is a great book, obviously one in which had been written with great care. It seems as if it would be a noval of fiction rather than one of nonfiction, with all of the adventures and dangers in which Modoc and Bram face. It is a truly grand tale, one in which the reader should thoroughly enjoy and use an open heart with. The bond between animal and person is very vividly shown, along with how truly evil the human race can be towards animals, whom have done nothing wrong. A very good book,for animal lovers of all kinds!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made me want to support the elephant charties. I love this book. Best story ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Is this REALLY a true story? I had such high expectations when I read the cover. But I don't even think the pictures are real. Modoc is described numerous times as having tusks, yet the elephant in the pictures does not have tusks (and it may be several different elephants if you look closely). And that fire picture is from the Hartford Circus fire of 1944 (Look it up on Google). I have searched for any other existing story or information on Modoc or Bram Gunterstein and the only thing I ever get a hit on is this book. I understand that some 'poetic license' must be taken when writing a historical account, but if you are writing a novel, just say you are writing a novel, don't try to pass it off as a true story. I was extremely disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont read very often and i am a slow reader as well but not for Modoc. I LOVE elephants so this story just made my love for them even greater. This story is filled with so much love and compassion it is truly a greatstory and has become my favorite book. I would recommend t o to anyone and everyone!
tahoecarolmc More than 1 year ago
"Modoc" was selected by our book club for our March read. Everyone loved it. The bond between Bram and Modoc was so very touching. Everything they went through all those years tugged at your heart. I cried at the end, which I seldom do. Very highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read an average of 10 books a month. This book will be among my top five all time favorites. So well written and certainly not a book you can easily put down. Read it for yourself and most of all enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader. I read an average of 8 or more books a month ranging in all genres. Having said that this is one of the top three books i have ever read. Words can't relay how this book will stay in my memory, it's just that wonderful. Ralph Helfer deserves a standing ovation with this one-Bravo!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been a while since I read this book, but it has left a lasting impression on me. It tells a heart-warming tale about a man and his beloved elephant companion, while also reminding us of the old adage "An elephant never forgets." and that all animals should be treated with love and respect. This book made me laugh, cry and everything in between. An amazing read.
Smila More than 1 year ago
Very well told and makes you want to read more. The adventures keep going and going from page to page. Hard to believe it's true, so many things in one lifetime.
Xanthe More than 1 year ago
I found this basically unreadable. An intriguing story perhaps, but the writing is just not compelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best animal books I have ever read, and will one of my favorite books read ever. The story is compelling right from the start, and commands your attention throughout.It exposes the best and some of the worst behavior in the human character, and makes us realize, who are the real humans in this world, people or animals? It held my attention throughout, and I had a hard time putting it down. Pay no attention to the nay sayers or doubters, as they probably would not believe this story no matter how much documentation was provided. Do yourself a favor, and buy this book, ;Im positive you will treasure it forever! Bravo to Ralph Heifer on such a superb book! I give you warm applause & a tip of the hat! Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful & heartwarming story!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful wonderful book , could not put it down - only to get more kleenex !
bobalu99 More than 1 year ago
i love this book! a must read for animal lovers! i don't know if it's true or not, and frankly, i don't care. i like to believe that it's true because it makes me smile thinking that someone as awesome and amazing as Modoc walked the same planet as i do. =)
AZLibba 3 months ago
A very memorable read, book club worthy and a nice gift. It was an unexpectable delight, from beginning to end.
Anonymous 8 months ago
A warm and love-filled story of an elephant who was cared for and trained in a most caring fashion. An amazing life for Modok who traveled from Germany to India to the U.S. Adventures and heat-rending experiences abound.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is an inspirational must read! a beautiful story true or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book over a dozen times since it was first written and yet I cry every single time. And each time I still wish I had never read it so it could be my first time reading it over and over again. I love this book and I can truely say it is my favorite book I've ever read. Please please read this book if you have a chance. Modoc and Bram will teach you more about love, loyalty, and freindship than any other story you could ever read.
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Otis2014 More than 1 year ago
I have always wondered why this book/story has never been made into a movie. Truly the most moving book I have ever read, one that always comes to mind when someone asks what my favorite book is. Amazing how this story never leaves my thoughts, years later. I have given this book as gifts over and over. A must read!
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