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|Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
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Author: Vicki Croke
The remarkable story of James Howard “Billy” Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world’s largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill
Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a “forest man” for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant wallah.” Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory. In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams’s growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude.
But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges, and transport the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. Now well versed in the ways of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even added to his stable by smuggling more elephants out of Japanese-held territory. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced his most perilous test. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill’s exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim.
Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventure, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism.
Praise for Elephant Company
“I have to confess—my love of elephants made me apprehensive to review a book about their role in World War II. But as soon as I began to read Elephant Company, I realized that not only was my heart safe, but that this book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . [Vicki] Croke is a natural storyteller. . . . Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written.”—Sara Gruen, The New York Times Book Review
“Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant-whisperer-cum-war-hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans.”—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time
“The true-life heroics of Elephant Company during World War II highlight how animals and humans together can achieve extraordinary things. Croke’s evocative writing and deep understanding of the animal-human bond bring vividly to life Elephant Bill’s great passion and almost mystical connection with his magnificent beasts. This is a wonderful read.”—Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion
|War of the Whales: A True Story (English and English Edition)
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Author: Joshua Horwitz
Two men face off against an all-powerful navy—and the fate of the ocean’s most majestic creatures hangs in the balance.
"A gripping, brilliantly told tale of the secret and deadly struggle between American national security and the kings of the oceans."—Bob Woodward
War of the Whales is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy’s best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound—and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth.
When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation’s highest court, War of the Whales is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014: Reported and written with great passion and precision, this is a gripping and wholly original tale of the ecological side effects of national security. When whales begin beaching themselves in the Bahamas, a marine researcher suspects a clandestine military sonar program. The fight to protect the gentle giants of the sea from the U.S. Navy reads like an eco-thriller crossed with the best of investigative journalism. The action veers from Caribbean beaches to the Pentagon, from the San Juan Islands of Washington State to the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court. At the center of the action is marine biologist and ex-Navy man, Ken Balcomb, a relentless defender of the whales he’s come to love. Take your fictional pick: Balcomb is either Quixote, Ishmael, or David to the Navy’s Goliath. He’s also got a backstory worthy of its own book--an absent-father childhood, a lengthy (and secret) Navy career, three failed marriages, and finally a passion for marine mammals. When Balcomb teams up with activist environmental lawyer Joel Reynolds, the story’s twists and turns expose us to the hidden histories of underwater submarine surveillance and its impact on deep-sea dwellers. Joshua Horwitz is an exuberant storyteller, and this is a rare trifecta of a book: important, highly readable, and stunningly true. --Neal Thompson
|American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood
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Author: Paul Greenberg
"A fascinating discussion of a multifaceted issue and a passionate call to action" --Kirkus
In American Catch, award-winning author Paul Greenberg takes the same skills that won him acclaim in Four Fish to uncover the tragic unraveling of the nation’s seafood supplytelling the surprising story of why Americans stopped eating from their own waters.
In 2005, the United States imported five billion pounds of seafood, nearly double what we imported twenty years earlier. Bizarrely, during that same period, our seafood exports quadrupled. American Catch examines New York oysters, Gulf shrimp, and Alaskan salmon to reveal how it came to be that 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat is foreign.
In the 1920s, the average New Yorker ate six hundred local oysters a year. Today, the only edible oysters lie outside city limits. Following the trail of environmental desecration, Greenberg comes to view the New York City oyster as a reminder of what is lost when local waters are not valued as a food source.
Farther south, a different catastrophe threatens another seafood-rich environment. When Greenberg visits the Gulf of Mexico, he arrives expecting to learn of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s lingering effects on shrimpers, but instead finds that the more immediate threat to business comes from overseas. Asian-farmed shrimpcheap, abundant, and a perfect vehicle for the frying and sauces Americans lovehave flooded the American market.
Finally, Greenberg visits Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to the biggest wild sockeye salmon run left in the world. A pristine, productive fishery, Bristol Bay is now at great risk: The proposed Pebble Mine project could under¬mine the very spawning grounds that make this great run possible. In his search to discover why this pre¬cious renewable resource isn’t better protected, Green¬berg encounters a shocking truth: the great majority of Alaskan salmon is sent out of the country, much of it to Asia. Sockeye salmon is one of the most nutritionally dense animal proteins on the planet, yet Americans are shipping it abroad.
Despite the challenges, hope abounds. In New York, Greenberg connects an oyster restoration project with a vision for how the bivalves might save the city from rising tides. In the Gulf, shrimpers band together to offer local catch direct to consumers. And in Bristol Bay, fishermen, environmentalists, and local Alaskans gather to roadblock Pebble Mine. With American Catch, Paul Greenberg proposes a way to break the current destructive patterns of consumption and return American catch back to American eaters.
|Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves (English and English Edition)
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Author: Laurel Braitman
** “Science Friday” Summer Reading Pick**
**Discover magazine Top 5 Summer Reads**
**People magazine Best Summer Reads**
“[A] lovely, big-hearted book…brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.” —The New York Times
Have you ever wondered if your dog might be a bit depressed? How about heartbroken or homesick? Animal Madness takes these questions seriously, exploring the topic of mental health and recovery in the animal kingdom and turning up lessons that Publishers Weekly calls “Illuminating…Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case of life….[Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.”
Susan Orlean calls Animal Madness “a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives.” It is “a gem…that can teach us much about the wildness of our own minds” (Psychology Today).
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: As a kid, Laurel Braitman read Charlotte’s Web and suspected that animals really could talk. As a PhD student at MIT studying scientific history, she again honed in on animals in her research. But it wasn’t until she and her husband adopted a Bernese Mountain Dog named Oliver that animal psychology became the puzzle she most urgently wanted to solve. Oliver was inexplicably, uncontrollably anxious, snapping at invisible flies and shredding furniture when he was left alone. When he chewed through a screen, leapt from a fourth-story window, and—incredibly--survived, Braitman became intent on finding a way to help him. In Animal Madness, she shares how “one anxious dog brought me the entire animal kingdom.” Elements of memoir make the story more poignant, but it’s primarily a lively, deeply researched history and an unflinching look at the trauma of modern-day captivity in medical labs and faux-natural zoos. What she discovered about how animal minds go awry and the ways their disorders--from depression to anxiety to OCD and PTSD--look so much like our own (and vice versa) challenge and transform our understanding of the animal experience. What she discovered about how they heal illuminates how humans, too, can come back from the brink. --Mari Malcolm
|Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves
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Author: James Nestor
While on assignment in Greece, journalist James Nestor witnessed something that confounded him: a man diving 300 feet below the ocean’s surface on a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, unharmed and smiling.
This man was a freediver, and his amphibious abilities inspired Nestor to seek out the secrets of this little-known discipline. In Deep, Nestor embeds with a gang of extreme athletes and renegade researchers who are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. Along the way, he takes us from the surface to the Atlantic’s greatest depths, some 28,000 feet below sea level. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and seals who dive to depths below 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutes—deeper and longer than scientists ever thought possible. As strange as these phenomena are, they are reflections of our own species’ remarkable, and often hidden, potential—including echolocation, directional sense, and the profound physiological changes we undergo when underwater. Most illuminating of all, Nestor unlocks his own freediving skills as he communes with the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.
|National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition
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Author: Jon L. Dunn
Brand: Random House
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition contains the most all-new material since the first edition was published more than 25 years ago. The latest edition will include 300 new art figures; unique subspecies maps never before seen in a field guide; extensive migration information overlaid on species maps; field-mark labels on all artwork; text updates to include new species; reorganization reflecting taxonomic changes in the bird community; organization, readability, and increased page count with a fresh new design.
|National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic Backyard Guides)
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Author: Jonathan Alderfer
Essential for the estimated 62 million Americans who watch and feed birds in their backyards—from the experts at National Geographic and co-author of the popular and perennial best seller Field Guide to the Birds of North America.
No matter where you live—in the country, city, a high-rise or house—this handy guide will quench your curiosity about the feathered creatures in your midst. It features 150 of the most common and interesting birds likely to be observed at backyard feeders, nesting nearby or just migrating through. An indispensable visual index of all 150 species appears on the inside front and back laminated covers, making identification a snap.
Beginning with Backyard Basics, an easy-to-follow, richly illustrated presentation on observing and identifying birds—with tips on attracting and feeding your favorite birds, birdhouses, and bird-friendly landscapes to entice nesting—the book is full of National Geographic’s iconic field guide images and maps.
Core species on everyone’s list—such as robins, woodpeckers, bluebirds and chickadees—are featured in two-page spreads including practical tips with additional imagery. Sidebars captivate with interesting and little known facts.
Backyard Guide to Birds is linked to even more content, including audio of each of the book’s 150 birds’ songs and calls at nationalgeographic.com/birding.
|Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them
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Author: Laurence Packer
From the jungles of South America to the deserts of Arizona, one thing remains consistent: bees are disappearing. A world without bees would be much less colourful, with fewer flowers. But that’s not all-bees are responsible for up to one-third of our food supply, and the consequences of not taking action to protect them are frightening. While the media focuses on colony-collapse disorder and the threats to honey bees specifically, the real danger is much greater: all bees are at risk, whether it be from loss of habitat, pesticide use or disease, among other factors. And because of the integral role these insects play in the ecology of our planet, we may be at risk as well.
In Keeping the Bees, Laurence Packer, a melittologist whose life revolves around bees, debunks many myths about these creatures and takes us behind the scenes with scientists around the world who are working to save these fascinating creatures before it’s too late.
|The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
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Author: Richard Jones
Brand: Brand: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
The Beekeeper’s Bible is as much an ultimate guide to the practical essentials of beekeeping as it is a beautiful almanac to be read from cover to cover. Part history book, part handbook, and part cookbook, this illustrated tome covers every facet of the ancient hobby of beekeeping, from how to manage hives safely to harvesting one's own honey, and ideas for how to use honey and beeswax. Detailed instructions for making candles, furniture polish, beauty products, and nearly 100 honey-themed recipes are included. Fully illustrated with how-to photography and unique etchings, any backyard enthusiast or gardener can confidently dive into beekeeping with this book in hand (or daydream about harvesting their own honey while relaxing in the comfort of an armchair).
Praise for The Beekeeper's Bible:
"Jones and Sweeney-Lynch explain the science and society of bees in clear, accessible language. And the recipes are admirably useful: honey scones, honey soap, honey hangover cures. 'Oh, stuff and fluff,' as Pooh might say. Dip a paw into this richly satisfying volume and you won't have to do stoutness exercises."
-The New York Times
“Lip-smackin’ throughout, The Beekeeper's Bible is, at its heart, a glorious invitation into the depths of the honeybee hive.” —Chicago Tribune
"An elegant, information-packed addition to the library of the most serious beekeeper." —Better Homes & Gardens Country Gardens
“An amazing compendium of information, lore, facts, tips, techniques, and benefits of having bees in your life—whether you choose to keep a hive yourself, enjoy the by-products, or just appreciate these wonderful creatures for all that they contribute to our human ecosystem.”
- Beautiful hardcover
- 412 pages
- Extensive Index
|Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small
Lowest new price: $12.88
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List price: $21.95
Author: Ted Andrews
Open your heart and mind to the wisdom of the animal world.
Animal Speak provides techniques for recognizing and interpreting the signs and omens of nature. Meet and work with animals as totems and spirit guides by learning the language of their behaviors within the physical world.
Animal Speak shows you how to: identify, meet, and attune to your spirit animals; discover the power and spiritual significance of more than 100 different animals, birds, insects, and reptiles; call upon the protective powers of your animal totem; and create and use five magical animal rites, including shapeshifting and sacred dance.
This beloved, bestselling guide has become a classic reference for anyone wishing to forge a spiritual connection with the majesty and mystery of the animal world.
Want to learn how to speak the language of critters, large and small? Easy-to-read and understand, Ted Andrews's bestselling Animal Speak shows readers how to identify his or her animal totem and learn how to invoke its energy and use it for personal growth and inner discovery. Nature lovers will love this insightful compendium, chock-full of touching stories about animals, natural history, and animal folklore. Readers will also learn magical animal rites and how to read omens. Animal Speak includes a dictionary of bird, animal, reptile, and insect totems, which describe each creature's meaning. For example, if a person's totem is dragonfly, he or she was most likely excessively emotional and passionate in early years, learning with age to balance it with mental clarity and control. If a dragonfly suddenly shows up in your life, it means you may need to gain a new perspective or make a change. --P. Randall Cohan
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