Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants


Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.4 X 1.2 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Jacob Shell is a professor of geography and urban studies at Temple University. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


For millennia Asian elephants have lived in a complicated relationship between working during the day for humans and returning at night to socialize and mate in the wild with other elephants. This relationship may have helped their species to survive.--Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human
Never truly domesticated, many elephants in Southeast Asia work for humans during the day and yet are let go at night to forage in the forest. Jacob Shell discusses this age-old pact between two brainy species. Even if our view of the human-animal relationship is changing, the awe in which we hold elephants is amply fed by the stories and history in this fascinating book, especially those in which elephants appear to use their own judgment to solve problems in the field.--Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and Mama's Last Hug
[A] beautifully written travelogue and ethnography of the centuries-old relationship between humans and logging elephants.--Nikil Saval
[A] deep dive into the surprisingly complex relationship between [elephants and humans]. ... Illuminating.--Rachel Love Nuwer
Shell's research is extensive and meticulous. He complements visits to logging and transport camps, and interviews with human stakeholders, with a review of elephant labor in history, including during major conflicts from the time of Alexander the Great through the Vietnam War.--Barbara J. King
Among the most enjoyable parts of the book are the stories of individual elephants. ... Highly readable.--Rachel Dwyer