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.
Ronald B. Tobias
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There's a lot more insight in this book than just the history of elephants in the United States. Inside is a plethora of rich stories filled with humor, darkness, and tragedy. American culture is placed under a microscope and examined over many decades - from politics and campaigns to marketing and showmanship, this book is much more than elephant facts. It's a rather energetic collection of stories, of thoughts, and of past pop cultural musings that kept populaces occupied.
For the most part, the author tries to stay objective, at times faltering and casting an opinion over certain men, figures, or groups of people. Part of this may just be with the way the book is written, having a rather tongue-in-cheek authorial voice. This works phenomenally well at times, keeping the book energetic, and at certain crossroads, does unfortunately come off a bit moralistically preachy.
In the last chapter, the sense of direction, of capturing this rich history, is traded for...
My goodness after reading this book, I know a lot about the history of the elephant in the United States. I also know a whole lot about the circus and its treatment of these beautiful and intelligent animals. Some of it is rather sad however and it makes me glad that many zoos throughout the country no longer feature elephants, including my own Detroit Zoological Park.
You will learn things about this animal that you never knew existed. I enjoyed every story about the people, events and outcomes.
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