Elephantoms: Tracking the Elephant

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jul 17, 2003 - Nature - 264 pages

A scientific safari and personal memoir celebrating the enigmatic dignity of the world's largest land animal.

As a child in South Africa, spending summers exploring the wild with his boyhood friends, Lyall Watson came face to face with his first elephant. This "entertaining and enchanting" work (Washington Post Book World) chronicles how Watson's fascination grew into a lifelong quest to understand the nature and behavior of this impressive creature.

From that moment on, Watson's fascination grew into a lifelong obsession with understanding the nature and behavior of this impressive creature. Around the world, the elephant—at once a symbol of spiritual power and physical endurance—has been worshipped as a god and hunted for sport.

"Watson's insights and speculations are dazzling, but what lends them power is his extraordinary knowledge of evolutionary biology and animal behavior, ethnography and South African history" (Wade Davis, National Geographic Society). "Like a shaman, Watson conjures up the spirit of the massive beast" (Publishers Weekly), documents the animal's wide-ranging capabilities to remember and to mourn, and reminds us of its rich mythic origins, its evolution, and its devastation in recent history. Part meditation on an elusive animal, part evocation of the power of place, Elephantoms presents an alluring mix of the mysteries of nature and the wonders of childhood.


CHAPTER ONE Seeing the Elephant
CHAPTER TWO Hearing the Elephant
CHAPTER FOUR Losing the Elephant
CHAPTER FIVE Tracking the Elephant
CHAPTER SIX Knowing the Elephant
CHAPTER SEVEN Imagining the Elephant

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About the author (2003)

Lyall Watson (1939—2008) was a naturalist and the author of over twenty books, including Heaven's Breath and Jacobson's Organ.

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